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Lab bits -- August 2006

Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biophysics, believes that the fusion with the membrane happens so quickly, that the vesicles must be partially attached to the membrane before the electrical signal even arrives. He is testing the hypothesis that the vesicles are connected to the membrane via a stalk-like structure. When the electrical signal arrives, the stalk opens, allowing the neurotransmitter to flow into the space between nerve cells. If this hypothesis is accurate, it could answer questions about membrane fusion in other biological processes, such as after a sperm enters an egg and how flu viruses enter cells. Zimmerberg is testing the stalk hypothesis on sea urchin eggs and the nerve cells of the Woods Hole squid.


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Contact: Gina Hebert
ghebert@mbl.edu
508-289-7725
Marine Biological Laboratory
3-Aug-2006


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