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Trends Cell Biol. 1996 Aug;6(8):321-4.

Probing the mobility of membrane proteins inside the cell.

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  • 1Dept of Biochemistry, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0308, USA.


Studies using a variety of microscopy-based approaches have led to a consensus that most cell-surface proteins are highly mobile and diffuse rapidly within fenced microdomains. Little attention, however, has so far been given to the analysis of the mobility of intracellular membrane proteins because of their comparative inaccessibility. Recent advances in microinjection, confocal microscopy and the construction of epitope-tagged proteins or of hybrids with an intrinsically fluorescent protein have allowed intracellular membrane proteins to be studied using approaches previously applied to characterize the mobility of cell-surface proteins. Confocal fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (c-FRAP) experiments show that intracellular membrane proteins may also be highly mobile.

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