Type & Status:Research | 4 - Paginated paper (printed)
Authors:Moen, E. K.; Ibey, B. L.; Beier, H. T.; Armani, A. M.
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Biomembranes, 1858/11 (2016), pp. 2795-2803
Plasma membrane disruption can trigger a host of cellular activities. One commonly observed type of disruption is pore formation. Molecular dynamic (MD) simulations of simplified lipid membrane structures predict that controllably disrupting the membrane via nano-scale poration may be possible with nanosecond pulsed electric fields (nsPEF). Until recently, researchers hoping to verify this hypothesis experimentally have been limited to measuring the relatively slow process of fluorescent markers diffusing across the membrane, which is indirect evidence of nanoporation that could be channel-mediated. Leveraging recent advances in nonlinear optical microscopy, we elucidate the role of pulse parameters in nsPEF-induced membrane permeabilization in live cells. Unlike previous techniques, it is able to directly observe loss of membrane order at the onset of the pulse. We also develop a complementary theoretical model that relates increasing membrane permeabilization to membrane pore density. Due to the significantly improved spatial and temporal resolution possible with our imaging method, we are able to directly compare our experimental and theoretical results. Their agreement provides substantial evidence that nanoporation does occur and that its development is dictated by the electric field distribution.