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Science. 2002 May 3;296(5569):913-6.

Partitioning of lipid-modified monomeric GFPs into membrane microdomains of live cells.

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Department of Pharmacology, Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, and, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0647, USA.


Many proteins associated with the plasma membrane are known to partition into submicroscopic sphingolipid- and cholesterol-rich domains called lipid rafts, but the determinants dictating this segregation of proteins in the membrane are poorly understood. We suppressed the tendency of Aequorea fluorescent proteins to dimerize and targeted these variants to the plasma membrane using several different types of lipid anchors. Fluorescence resonance energy transfer measurements in living cells revealed that acyl but not prenyl modifications promote clustering in lipid rafts. Thus the nature of the lipid anchor on a protein is sufficient to determine submicroscopic localization within the plasma membrane.

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