The Influence of Vesicle Shape and Medium Conductivity on Possible Electrofusion under a Pulsed Electric Field.
The effects of electric field on lipid membrane and cells have been extensively studied in the last decades. The phenomena of electroporation and electrofusion are of particular interest due to their wide use in cell biology and biotechnology. However, numerical studies on the electrofusion of cells (or vesicles) with different deformed shapes are still rare. Vesicle, being of cell size, can be treated as a simple model of cell to investigate the behaviors of cell in electric field. Based on the finite element method, we investigate the effect of vesicle shape on electrofusion of contact vesicles in various medium conditions. The transmembrane voltage (TMV) and pore density induced by a pulsed field are examined to analyze the possibility of vesicle fusion. In two different medium conditions, the prolate shape is observed to have selective electroporation at the contact area of vesicles when the exterior conductivity is smaller than the interior one; selective electroporation is more inclined to be found at the poles of the oblate vesicles when the exterior conductivity is larger than the interior one. Furthermore, we find that when the exterior conductivity is lower than the internal conductivity, the pulse can induce a selective electroporation at the contact area between two vesicles regardless of the vesicle shape. Both of these two findings have important practical applications in guiding electrofusion experiments.
Liu, L; Mao, Z; Zhang, J; Liu, N; Liu, QH
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