A complete understanding of the molecular mechanisms governing vesicle formation requires quantitative assays and vesicle reconstitution using purified components. We describe a simple model membrane template for studying protein-mediated membrane remodeling and vesicle formation or fission that is amenable to both quantitative biochemical analysis and real-time imaging by epifluorescence microscopy. Supported bilayers with excess membrane reservoir (SUPER) templates are compositionally well-defined unilamellar membrane systems prepared on 2-5-μm silica beads under conditions that enable incorporation of excess membrane to form a loosely fitting bilayer that can be used to study membrane remodeling and fission. This protocol describes methods for SUPER template formation and characterization, as well as for the qualitative observation and quantitative measurement of vesicle formation and fission via microscopy and a simple sedimentation assay. SUPER templates can be prepared within 60 min. Results from either sedimentation-based or microscopy-based assays can be obtained within an additional 60 min.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)