Selective labeling of the inner liposome leaflet by fluorescent lipid probes, and studies of liposome fusion with influenza virus

Membr Cell Biol. 1997;11(4):515-27.


The inner leaflet of unilamellar lipid vesicles was labeled with fluorescent lysophosphatidylcholines. The probes make a donor-acceptor pair in resonance energy transfer (RET), being labeled with 9-anthrylvinyl (L-APC, donor) and 3-perylenoyl (L-PPC, acceptor) fluorophores. They migrate rapidly between bilayers through the water phase: tau 1/2 of equilibration is approximately 5 min at 37 degrees C. The probe(s) can be removed from the outer leaflet of uniformly labeled medium-size unilamellar vesicles (MUV) by repeated washings with excess unlabeled large unilamellar vesicles (LUV) (separation by centrifugation). The probes flip-flop across bilayers rather slowly. MUV containing the ganglioside GT1b and labeled with the L-APC/L-PPC pair in the inner leaflet were fused with an equal amount of influenza virus; the process was monitored by an increase of the donor fluorescence in RET assay. If inner MUV leaflet was labeled with the anthrylvinyl probe only, the probe fluorescence decreased by half when the probe was removed from the outer leaflets of the fused membranes. This shows that the lipids of the inner and outer leaflets of the MUV randomize in the process of fusion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Energy Transfer
  • Fluorescent Dyes / metabolism*
  • Gangliosides / metabolism
  • Isotope Labeling / methods*
  • Kinetics
  • Liposomes / metabolism*
  • Membrane Fusion*
  • Orthomyxoviridae*
  • Spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Gangliosides
  • Liposomes
  • trisialoganglioside GT1