Biological membrane fusion is crucial to numerous cellular events, including sexual reproduction and exocytosis. Here, mass spectrometry images demonstrate that the low-curvature lipid phosphatidylcholine is diminished in the membrane regions between fusing Tetrahymena, where a multitude of highly curved fusion pores exist. Additionally, mass spectra and principal component analysis indicate that the fusion region contains elevated amounts of 2-aminoethylphosphonolipid, a high-curvature lipid. This evidence suggests that biological fusion involves and might in fact be driven by a heterogeneous redistribution of lipids at the fusion site.
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