In acute spinal cord injury the plasma membranes of spinal neurons are torn allowing high concentrations of calcium to enter the cytoplasm, activating proteolytic cascades and leading to neuronal cell death. Membrane repair mechanisms have evolved that protect cells from this type of damage by repairing the cell membrane as soon as the increase in intracellular calcium is sensed by calcium-binding proteins. If these repair mechanisms can be strengthened either before or after spinal cord injury it may be possible to reduce cell damage resulting from the injury. In this project we are testing the hypothesis that the action of copine, a human calcium-dependent-membrane-binding protein, in model systems can promote a stable repair of broken membranes that could preserve cell viability. Preliminary data obtained using a novel imaging technology, atomic force microscopy, suggested that calcium-dependent, membrane-binding proteins of the copine class can repair membranes through direct binding to the edges of torn membranes and promoting sealing of the edges.