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      Phospholipids undergo hop diffusion in compartmentalized cell membrane

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          The diffusion rate of lipids in the cell membrane is reduced by a factor of 5–100 from that in artificial bilayers. This slowing mechanism has puzzled cell biologists for the last 25 yr. Here we address this issue by studying the movement of unsaturated phospholipids in rat kidney fibroblasts at the single molecule level at the temporal resolution of 25 μs. The cell membrane was found to be compartmentalized: phospholipids are confined within 230-nm-diameter (φ) compartments for 11 ms on average before hopping to adjacent compartments. These 230-nm compartments exist within greater 750-nm-φ compartments where these phospholipids are confined for 0.33 s on average. The diffusion rate within 230-nm compartments is 5.4 μm 2/s, which is nearly as fast as that in large unilamellar vesicles, indicating that the diffusion in the cell membrane is reduced not because diffusion per se is slow, but because the cell membrane is compartmentalized with regard to lateral diffusion of phospholipids. Such compartmentalization depends on the actin-based membrane skeleton, but not on the extracellular matrix, extracellular domains of membrane proteins, or cholesterol-enriched rafts. We propose that various transmembrane proteins anchored to the actin-based membrane skeleton meshwork act as rows of pickets that temporarily confine phospholipids.

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          Most cited references 70

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          This radioautographic study was designed to localize the cytological sites involved in the incorporation of a lipid precursor into the myelin and the myelin-related cell of the peripheral nervous system. Both myelinating and fully myelinated cultures of rat dorsal root ganglia were exposed to a 30-min pulse of tritiated choline and either fixed immediately or allowed 6 or 48 hr of chase incubation before fixation. After Epon embedding, light and electron microscopic radioautograms were prepared with Ilford L-4 emulsion. Analysis of the pattern of choline incorporation into myelinating cultures indicated that radioactivity appeared all along the length of the internode, without there being a preferential site of initial incorporation. Light microscopic radioautograms of cultures at varying states of maturity were compared in order to determine the relative degree of myelin labeling. This analysis indicated that the myelin-Schwann cell unit in the fully myelinated cultures incorporated choline as actively as did this unit in the myelinating cultures. Because of technical difficulties, it was not possible to determine the precise localization of the incorporated radioactivity within the compact myelin. These data are related to recent biochemical studies indicating that the mature myelin of the central nervous system does incorporate a significant amount of lipid precursor under the appropriate experimental conditions. These observations support the concept that a significant amount of myelin-related metabolic activity occurs in mature tissue; this activity is considered part of an essential and continuous process of myelin maintenance and repair.
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            Lipid rafts and signal transduction.

             D Toomre,  K Simons (2000)
            Signal transduction is initiated by complex protein-protein interactions between ligands, receptors and kinases, to name only a few. It is now becoming clear that lipid micro-environments on the cell surface -- known as lipid rafts -- also take part in this process. Lipid rafts containing a given set of proteins can change their size and composition in response to intra- or extracellular stimuli. This favours specific protein-protein interactions, resulting in the activation of signalling cascades.
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              Neurotransmitter synthesis and uptake by isolated sympathetic neurones in microcultures.

              Assays of isolated single sympathetic neurones show that their transmitter functions can be either adrenergic or cholinergic depending on growth conditions. The data suggest that the number of transmitters made by most mature individual neurones is restricted.

                Author and article information

                J Cell Biol
                The Journal of Cell Biology
                The Rockefeller University Press
                10 June 2002
                : 157
                : 6
                : 1071-1082
                [1 ]Kusumi Membrane Organizer Project, Exploratory Research for Advanced Technology Organization (ERATO), Japan Science and Technology Corporation, Nagoya 460-0012, Japan
                [2 ]Department of Biological Science, Nagoya University, Nagoya 464-8602, Japan
                [3 ]Department of Cell and Developmental Biology and Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599
                Author notes

                Address correspondence to Akihiro Kusumi, Department of Biological Science, Nagoya University, Nagoya 464-8602, Japan. Tel.: 81-52-789-2969. Fax: 81-52-789-2968. E-mail: akusumi@

                Copyright © 2002, The Rockefeller University Press


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