The kinetics of the fusion process between erythrocyte ghosts, as induced by Sendal virus, were readily revealed by a simple fluorescence procedure previously employed to characterize the fusion of viruses with biological membranes. The method relies on the relief of fluorescence selfquenching of the membrane-inserted probe octadecyl Rhodamine B chloride (R18) as occurs when labeled membranes fuse with unlabeled counterparts. The kinetics of R18 insertion into ghost membranes, the non-exchangeable properties of the fluorophore and the kinetics, and some characteristics of Sendai virus-induced fusion of ghosts, are described. We propose that the experimental approach may be particularly advantageous to obtain insight into the efficiency and mechanism of a wide range of fusogens, capable of inducing fusion of erythrocyte membranes.

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