Molecular mechanisms and forces involved in the adhesion and fusion of amphiphilic bilayers

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Science  17 Nov 1989:
Vol. 246, Issue 4932, pp. 919-922
DOI: 10.1126/science.2814514


The surface forces apparatus technique was used for measuring the adhesion, deformation, and fusion of bilayers supported on mica surfaces in aqueous solutions. The most important force leading to the direct fusion of bilayers is the hydrophobic interaction, although the occurrence of fusion is not simply related to the force law between bilayers. Bilayers do not need to "overcome" some repulsive force barrier, such as hydration, before they can fuse. Instead, once bilayer surfaces come within about 1 nanometer of each other, local deformations and molecular rearrangements allow them to "bypass" these forces.

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