Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Aug 2;108(31):12605-10. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1102646108. Epub 2011 Jul 18.

Mobility in geometrically confined membranes.

Author information

Institut Curie, Centre de Recherche, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Unité Mixte de Recherche 168, Physico-Chimie Curie, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, 75248 Paris, France.


Lipid and protein lateral mobility is essential for biological function. Our theoretical understanding of this mobility can be traced to the seminal work of Saffman and Delbrück, who predicted a logarithmic dependence of the protein diffusion coefficient (i) on the inverse of the size of the protein and (ii) on the "membrane size" for membranes of finite size [Saffman P, Delbrück M (1975) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 72:3111-3113]. Although the experimental proof of the first prediction is a matter of debate, the second has not previously been thought to be experimentally accessible. Here, we construct just such a geometrically confined membrane by forming lipid bilayer nanotubes of controlled radii connected to giant liposomes. We followed the diffusion of individual molecules in the tubular membrane using single particle tracking of quantum dots coupled to lipids or voltage-gated potassium channels KvAP, while changing the membrane tube radius from approximately 250 to 10 nm. We found that both lipid and protein diffusion was slower in tubular membranes with smaller radii. The protein diffusion coefficient decreased as much as 5-fold compared to diffusion on the effectively flat membrane of the giant liposomes. Both lipid and protein diffusion data are consistent with the predictions of a hydrodynamic theory that extends the work of Saffman and Delbrück to cylindrical geometries. This study therefore provides strong experimental support for the ubiquitous Saffman-Delbrück theory and elucidates the role of membrane geometry and size in regulating lateral diffusion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center