Osmotic swelling of phospholipid vesicles causes them to fuse with a planar phospholipid bilayer membrane

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Science  30 Jul 1982:
Vol. 217, Issue 4558, pp. 458-460
DOI: 10.1126/science.6283637


Fusion of phospholipid vesicles with planar bilayer membranes occurs if the vesicles that contact the planar membrane swell osmotically after the replacement in their medium of an impermeant solute by a permeant one. This finding directly demonstrates that osmotic swelling is a driving force for vesicle-planar membrane fusion. The method used to induce vesicle swelling and fusion may have relevance for biological systems.