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J Cell Sci. 2004 Dec 1;117(Pt 25):5955-64.

Polarized sorting in epithelial cells: raft clustering and the biogenesis of the apical membrane.

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Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Pfotenhauerstrasse 108, 01307 Dresden, Germany.


Polarized cells establish and maintain functionally distinct surface domains by an elaborate sorting process, which ensures accurate delivery of biosynthetic cargo to different parts of the plasma membrane. This is particularly evident in polarized epithelial cells, which have been used as a model system for studies of sorting mechanisms. The clustering of lipid rafts through the oligomerization of raft components could be utilized for segregating apical from basolateral cargo and for the generation of intracellular transport carriers. Besides functioning in polarized sorting in differentiated cells, raft clustering might also play an important role in the biogenesis of apical membrane domains during development.

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