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Unraveling the response of a biomimetic actin cortex to electric pulses in vesicles

By Dayinta L. Perrier, Afshin Vahid, Vaishnavi Kathavi, Lotte Stam, Lea Rems, Yuval Mulla, Aswin Muralidharan, Gijsje H. Koenderink, Michiel T. Kreutzer, Pouyan E. Boukany

Posted 04 Jun 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/338566

We study the role of a biomimetic actin cortex during the application of electric pulses that induce electroporation or electropermeabilization, using giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) as a model system. The actin cortex, a subjacently attached interconnected network of actin filaments, regulates the shape and mechanical properties of the plasma membrane of mammalian cells, and is a major factor influencing the mechanical response of the cell to external physical cues. We demonstrate that the presence of an actin shell inhibits the formation of macropores in the electroporated GUVs. Additionally, experiments on the uptake of dye molecules after electroporation show that the actin network slows down the resealing process of the permeabilized membrane. We further analyze the stability of the actin network inside the GUVs exposed to high electric pulses. We find disruption of the actin layer that is likely due to the electrophoretic forces acting on the actin filaments during the permeabilization of the GUVs. Our findings on the GUVs containing a biomimetic cortex provide a step towards understanding the discrepancies between the electroporation mechanism of a living cell and its simplified model of the empty GUV.

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