Short-chain alcohols promote accelerated membrane distention in a dynamic liposome model of exocytosis

Nathan J. Wittenbergs, Zheng Leiliang, Nicholas Winograd, Andrew G. Ewing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We have used amperometric measurements in a model system consisting of two liposomes connected with a membrane nanotube to monitor catechol release during artificial exocytosis and thereby to elucidate the effect of small-chain alcohols on this dynamic membrane process. To determine the rate of membrane shape change, catechol release during membrane distention was monitored amperometrically, and the presence of alcohols in the buffer was shown to accelerate the membrane distention process in a concentration-dependent manner. Compression isotherms for the same lipid composition in the absence and presence of ethanol and 1-propanol were measured to determine how these short-chain alcohols affect the lipid packing in monolayers. The isotherms show a marked decrease in lipid packing density that is dependent on the particular alcohol and its concentration. Comparison of the electrochemical and isotherm results suggests a correlation between decreasing lipid packing density and increasing rates of membrane shape change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2637-2642
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 18 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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