Transfection, Transduction, and Membrane Fusion

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Membrane Fusion

Membrane fusion is a novel and highly superior method to incorporate various molecules and particles into mammalian cells, and a strong strategy for functional studies and therapeutic approaches.

The incorporation of small liposomal carriers into the plasma membrane of mammalian cells is the idea behind all of ibidi’s Fuse-It products. ibidi offers specifically optimized products based on the molecular classes required for your research.

Specific liposomal carriers are able to attach and instantly fuse with plasma membranes in a physicochemical-driven manner. ibidi’s new Fuse-It reagents efficiently use this mechanism and fuse with mammalian cell surfaces immediately upon contact. Therefore, this novel technique makes the transfer of molecules independent of biological processes, such as endocytosis, pinocytosis, or specific receptor binding.

Membrane fusion makes it possible to effectively incorporate different classes of molecules into the cellular membrane or into the cytoplasm. Systematic adaptations of the liposome composition to the general characteristics of a defined molecular class guarantee fusion efficiencies up to 80 - 100% within only seconds to a few minutes. Additionally, the very short incubation times provide an almost unaffected cell behavior after the molecule transfer.

eGFP-mRNA expression in primary cortical neurons after treatment with Fuse-It-mRNA

CHO cells surface functionalized with biotin using Fuse-It-B (red) and subsequent binding of avidin-Alexa488 (green)

Fuse-It Product Family




mRNA Transfection


siRNA Transfer

Fuse-It green | Fuse-It red | Fuse-It dred | Fuse-It IR

Membrane Staining


Lipid Insertion


Transport of Proteins


Tissue Staining

Fuse-It-B green | Fuse-It-B IR

Membrane Biotinilation


Transport of Beads

Method Comparison


Membrane Fusion

Transfer of nucleic acids

Transfer of mRNA, lipids, proteins, particles, functionalization molecules, etc.

Incorporation of liposomes into cells by endocytosis

Transfer of liposomes into cells by plasma membrane fusion

Transient and stable expression

Transient incorporation with natural, molecule-specific lifetimes that are in the range of hours to days

Procedure time: minutes to several hours

Procedure time: minutes

12 - 24 h of idle time before analysis

Direct analysis after incorporation

Typically high rates of protein expression

Adjustable, intermediate molecule concentrations

Transfection efficiency strongly varies between different cell types

High incorporation efficiency, largely independent of cell type

Biosafety level 1

No biosafety restrictions to biosafety level 1


Learn more about the principle and the advantages of membrane fusion in the ibidi webinar: Fusogenic Liposomes: A Highly Beneficial Mechanism for Transferring RNA Molecules into Mammalian Cells.

Application Notes

AN 54: Knockdown of GFP-Expression—A Comparison of Fusion and Lipofection (PDF)
Instructions on the handling of Fuse-It-siRNA, as well as a comparison of various siRNA transfection alternatives

AN 29: Transfer of mRNA into iPSC-derived Cardiomyocytes Using Fuse-It-mRNA (PDF)
Detailed instructions for the optimization of the Fuse-It-mRNA protocol for iPSC-derived Cardiomyocytes in the µ-Slide VI 0.4

AN 43: Transfer of mRNA into L929 Cells using Fuse-It-mRNA (PDF)
Detailed protocol for handling recombinant lentiviruses, plus designing an approach for transducing human cells

AN 52: Transfer of R-Phycoerythrin into CHO-K1 cells using Fuse-It-P (PDF)
Detailed instructions for the transfer of the protein R-Phycoerythrin into CHO-K1 cells using Fuse-It-P in the µ-Dish 35 mm, high

AN 55: siRNA Transfection Into Primary Neurons Using Fuse-It-siRNA (PDF)
Instructions for siRNA transfection into sensitive, primary neurons using Fuse-It-siRNA, and knockdown analysis using quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR).