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Curr Top Membr. 2013;72:89-120. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-417027-8.00003-9.

Membrane protein dynamics and functional implications in mammalian cells.

Author information

1
Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Electronic address: alenghat@post.harvard.edu.

Abstract

The organization of the plasma membrane is both highly complex and highly dynamic. One manifestation of this dynamic complexity is the lateral mobility of proteins within the plane of the membrane, which is often an important determinant of intermolecular protein-binding interactions, downstream signal transduction, and local membrane mechanics. The mode of membrane protein mobility can range from random Brownian motion to immobility and from confined or restricted motion to actively directed motion. Several methods can be used to distinguish among the various modes of protein mobility, including fluorescence recovery after photobleaching, single-particle tracking, fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, and variations of these techniques. Here, we present both a brief overview of these methods and examples of their use to elucidate the dynamics of membrane proteins in mammalian cells-first in erythrocytes, then in erythroblasts and other cells in the hematopoietic lineage, and finally in non-hematopoietic cells. This multisystem analysis shows that the cytoskeleton frequently governs modes of membrane protein motion by stably anchoring the proteins through direct-binding interactions, by restricting protein diffusion through steric interactions, or by facilitating directed protein motion. Together, these studies have begun to delineate mechanisms by which membrane protein dynamics influence signaling sequelae and membrane mechanical properties, which, in turn, govern cell function.

KEYWORDS:

Cytoskeleton; FRAP; Lateral mobility; Membrane proteins; Single-particle tracking

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