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Biophys J. 2013 Feb 19;104(4):825-34. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2012.12.047.

Adhesion stabilizes robust lipid heterogeneity in supercritical membranes at physiological temperature.

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1
Department of Biophysics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

Abstract

Regions of contact between cells are frequently enriched in or depleted of certain protein or lipid species. Here, we explore a possible physical basis that could contribute to this membrane heterogeneity using a model system of a giant vesicle tethered to a planar supported bilayer. Vesicles contain coexisting liquid-ordered (L(o)) and liquid-disordered (L(d)) phases at low temperatures and are tethered using trace quantities of adhesion molecules that preferentially partition into one liquid phase. We find that the L(d) marker DiI-C(12) is enriched or depleted in the adhered region when adhesion molecules partition into L(d) or L(o) phases, respectively. Remarkably, adhesion stabilizes an extended zone enriched or depleted of DiI-C(12) even at temperatures >15°C above the miscibility phase transition when membranes have compositions that are in close proximity to a critical point. A stable adhesion zone is also observed in plasma membrane vesicles isolated from living RBL-2H3 cells, and probe partitioning at 37°C is diminished in vesicles isolated from cells with altered cholesterol levels. Probe partitioning is in good quantitative agreement with predictions of the two-dimensional Ising model with a weak applied field for both types of model membranes. These studies experimentally demonstrate that large and stable domain structure can be mediated by lipids in single-phase membranes with supercritical fluctuations.

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PMID:
23442961
PMCID:
PMC3576520
DOI:
10.1016/j.bpj.2012.12.047
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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