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Most attention has been focused on physiologically generated membrane blebs on the cellular cortex, whereas artificial membrane blebs induced by chemicals are studied to a lesser extent. We found that exposure of HeLa human cervical cancer cells to paraformaldehyde (PFA), followed by incubation in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) efficiently induced large membrane blebs on the cellular cortex. Intriguingly, sequential exposure of the PFA-treated cells to PBS containing dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) facilitated shedding of the blebs from the cellular cortex, yielding a high quantity of large extracellular vesicles in the supernatant, which was applicable to assess the potentials of compounds and proteins as membrane influencers. Similar effects of PFA and DMSO were detected on the cellular cortex of other human, mouse, and fish cells. Our procedure to facilitate membrane blebbing and vesicle shedding by chemicals may be practical for the manipulation of membrane dynamics and the development of vesicle-inspired technologies using a wide variety of cell types.


Saya Okada, Yuta Fukai, Fumiya Yoshimoto, Hisato Saitoh. Chemical manipulations to facilitate membrane blebbing and vesicle shedding on the cellular cortex. Biotechnology letters. 2020 Jul;42(7):1137-1145

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PMID: 32112174

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