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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Apr 12, 1994; 91(8): 3378–3382.

Truncation mutants define and locate cytoplasmic barriers to lateral mobility of membrane glycoproteins.


The lateral mobility of cell membrane glycoproteins is often restricted by dynamic barriers. These barriers have been detected by measurements of fluorescence photobleaching and recovery (FPR) and barrier-free path (BFP). To define the location and properties of the barriers, we compared the lateral mobility, measured by FPR and BFP, of wild-type class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) membrane glycoproteins with the lateral mobility of mutant class I MHC glycoproteins truncated in their cytoplasmic domains. Mutants with 0 or 4 residues in the cytoplasmic domain were as mobile as lipid-anchored class I MHC molecules, molecules whose lateral mobility is relatively unrestricted by barriers. In contrast, mobility of class I MHC molecules with 7-residue cytoplasmic domains was as restricted as mobility of class I molecules with full-length, 31-residue cytoplasmic domains. Though some of the difference between the mobilities of mutants with 4- or 0-residue domains and the other class I molecules may be due to differences in the net charge of the cytoplasmic domain, FPR measurements of the mobility of molecules with 7-residue domains show that length of the cytoplasmic domain has an important influence on the lateral mobility. Model calculations suggest that the barriers to lateral mobility are 2-3 nm below the membrane bilayer.

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