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J Cell Biol. 2006 Jun 19;173(6):839-44.

Cubic membranes: a legend beyond the Flatland* of cell membrane organization.

Author information

1
Cubic Membrane Laboratory, Department of Physiology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117597.

Abstract

Cubic membranes represent highly curved, three-dimensional nanoperiodic structures that correspond to mathematically well defined triply periodic minimal surfaces. Although they have been observed in numerous cell types and under different conditions, particularly in stressed, diseased, or virally infected cells, knowledge about the formation and function of nonlamellar, cubic structures in biological systems is scarce, and research so far is restricted to the descriptive level. We show that the "organized smooth endoplasmic reticulum" (OSER; Snapp, E.L., R.S. Hegde, M. Francolini, F. Lombardo, S. Colombo, E. Pedrazzini, N. Borgese, and J. Lippincott-Schwartz. 2003. J. Cell Biol. 163:257-269), which is formed in response to elevated levels of specific membrane-resident proteins, is actually the two-dimensional representation of two subtypes of cubic membrane morphology. Controlled OSER induction may thus provide, for the first time, a valuable tool to study cubic membrane formation and function at the molecular level.

PMID:
16785319
PMCID:
PMC2063909
DOI:
10.1083/jcb.200603055
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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