The shape of lipid molecules and monolayer membrane fusion

L. V. Chernomordik, M. M. Kozlov, G. B. Melikyan, I. G. Abidor, V. S. Markin, Yu A. Chizmadzhev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

170 Scopus citations


The contact between two bilayer membranes results in their monolayer fusion comprising the formation of a trilaminar structure (a single bilayer connected to two bilayers over the whole perimeter) in the contact region. The time required for monolayer fusion was measured and irreversible electrical breakdown was studied for membranes of different compositions. A theoretical model of the monolayer fusion is suggested to explain the results. It assumes that the structural reorganization underlying the process involves the formation of a stalk between bilayers as a result of local bending of the interacting monolayers. This structural reorganization is similar to the hydrophilic pore formation in a bilayer under irreversible breakdown. However, the directions of the monolayer bending are different in the two processes and, therefore, the bending energies depend oppositely on the effective shape of lipid molecules. Theoretical predictions agree well with experimental data. The applicability of the suggested mechanism to biomembrane fusion is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)643-655
Number of pages13
JournalBBA - Biomembranes
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 14 1985


  • Electrical breakdown
  • Lipid shape
  • Membrane fusion
  • Trilaminar structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The shape of lipid molecules and monolayer membrane fusion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Chernomordik, L. V., Kozlov, M. M., Melikyan, G. B., Abidor, I. G., Markin, V. S., & Chizmadzhev, Y. A. (1985). The shape of lipid molecules and monolayer membrane fusion. BBA - Biomembranes, 812(3), 643-655.