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J Struct Biol. 2004 Jul;147(1):77-89.

Lipid domain formation and dynamics in giant unilamellar vesicles explored by fluorescence correlation spectroscopy.

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Experimental Biophysics Group, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Am Fassberg 11, 37077 Goettingen, Germany.


Lipids in eukaryotic cell membranes have been shown to cluster in "rafts" with different lipid/protein compositions and molecular packing. Model membranes such as giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) provide a key system to elucidate the physical mechanisms of raft assembly. Despite the large amount of work devoted to the detection and characterization of rafts, one of the most important pieces of information still missing in the picture of the cell membrane is dynamics: how lipids organize and move in rafts and how they modulate membrane fluidity. This missing element is of crucial importance for the trafficking at and from the periphery of the cell regulated by endo- and exocytosis and, in general, for the constant turnover which redistributes membrane components. Here, we review studies of combined confocal fluorescence microscopy and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy on lipid dynamics and organization in rafts assembled in GUVs prepared from various lipid mixtures which are relevant to the problem of raft formation.

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