Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008 Feb;1778(2):466-71. Epub 2007 Nov 17.

Docosahexaenoic acid alters the size and distribution of cell surface microdomains.

Author information

  • 1Center for Environmental and Rural Health, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA.


We recently generated nutritional data suggesting that chemoprotective dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) are capable of displacing acylated proteins from lipid raft microdomains in vivo [D.W. Ma, J. Seo, L.A. Davidson, E.S. Callaway, Y.Y. Fan, J.R. Lupton, R.S. Chapkin, n-3 PUFA alter caveolae lipid composition and resident protein localization in mouse colon, FASEB J. 18 (2004) 1040-1042; Y.Y. Fan, L.H. Ly, R. Barhoumi, D.N. McMurray, R.S. Chapkin, Dietary docosahexaenoic acid suppresses T cell protein kinase Ctheta lipid raft recruitment and IL-2 recruitment, J. Immunol. 173 (2004) 6151-6160]. A primary source of very long chain n-3 PUFA in the diet is derived from fish enriched with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3). In this study, we sought to determine the effect of DHA on cell surface microdomain organization in situ. Using immuno-gold electron microscopy of plasma membrane sheets coupled with spatial point analysis of validated microdomain markers, morphologically featureless microdomains were visualized in HeLa cells at high resolution. Clustering of probes within cholesterol-dependent (GFP-tH) versus cholesterol-independent (GFP-tK) nanoclusters was differentially sensitive to n-3 PUFA treatment of cells. Univariate K-function analysis of GFP-tH (5 nm gold) revealed a significant increase in clustering (p<0.05) by pre-treatment with DHA and linoleic acid (LA, 18:2(Delta9,12)) compared to control fatty acids; whereas LA significantly (p<0.05) reduced GFP-tK clustering. These novel data suggest that the plasma membrane organization of inner leaflets is fundamentally altered by PUFA-enrichment. We speculate that our findings may help define a new paradigm to better understand the complexity of n-3 PUFA modulation of signaling networks.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication Types, MeSH Terms, Substances, Grant Support

Publication Types

MeSH Terms


Grant Support

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center