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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2008 Dec;11(6):632-40. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2008.07.002. Epub 2008 Sep 4.

Heterogeneity and lateral compartmentalization of plant plasma membranes.

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Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Department of Plant Microbe Interactions, Carl-von-Linné-Weg 10, 50829 Cologne, Germany.


Membrane specialization through lateral compartmentalization is pivotal to the development of organisms and their response to environmental signals. The membrane raft hypothesis is lively discussed as a concept for domain formation. In recent years plant scientists have begun to critically assess the membrane raft hypothesis, and this provided the first insights into the mechanisms underlying microdomain formation in plant plasma membranes. Several groups have now shown that phytosterols can induce phase separation, a prerequisite for the formation of membrane rafts. Furthermore, the protein repertoire of detergent-resistant membranes (DRMs) has been extensively characterized and the degree of fatty acid desaturation has been identified as an important factor in DRM formation. Recent studies comprising sterol-deficient mutants demonstrated the importance of correct sterol composition and endocytosis for proper membrane compartmentalization.

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