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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 Mar;1843(3):544-53.

Analysis of alpha3 GlyR single particle tracking in the cell membrane.


Single particle tracking (SPT) of transmembrane receptors in the plasma membrane often reveals heterogeneous diffusion. A thorough interpretation of the displacements requires an extensive analysis suited for discrimination of different motion types present in the data. Here the diffusion pattern of the homomeric alpha3-containing glycine receptor (GlyR) is analyzed in the membrane of HEK 293 cells. More specifically, the influence of the alpha3 RNA splice variants alpha3K and alpha3L on lateral membrane diffusion of the receptor is revealed in detail. Using a combination of ensemble and local SPT analysis, free and anomalous diffusion parameters are determined. The GlyR alpha3 free diffusion coefficient is found to be 0.13 +/- 0.01 microm2/s and both receptor variants display confined motion. The confinement probability level and residence time are significantly elevated for the alpha3L variant compared to the alpha3K variant. Furthermore, for the alpha3L GlyR, the presence of directed motion was also established, with a velocity matching that of saltatory vesicular transport. These findings reveal that alpha3 GlyRs are prone to different types of anomalous diffusion and reinforce the role of RNA splicing in determining lateral membrane trafficking.

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