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J Exp Bot. 2015 Mar;66(6):1573-86. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erv054. Epub 2015 Feb 27.

Membrane nanodomains in plants: capturing form, function, and movement.

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Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA.
Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA


The plasma membrane is the interface between the cell and the external environment. Plasma membrane lipids provide scaffolds for proteins and protein complexes that are involved in cell to cell communication, signal transduction, immune responses, and transport of small molecules. In animals, fungi, and plants, a substantial subset of these plasma membrane proteins function within ordered sterol- and sphingolipid-rich nanodomains. High-resolution microscopy, lipid dyes, pharmacological inhibitors of lipid biosynthesis, and lipid biosynthetic mutants have been employed to examine the relationship between the lipid environment and protein activity in plants. They have also been used to identify proteins associated with nanodomains and the pathways by which nanodomain-associated proteins are trafficked to their plasma membrane destinations. These studies suggest that plant membrane nanodomains function in a context-specific manner, analogous to similar structures in animals and fungi. In addition to the highly conserved flotillin and remorin markers, some members of the B and G subclasses of ATP binding cassette transporters have emerged as functional markers for plant nanodomains. Further, the glycophosphatidylinositol-anchored fasciclin-like arabinogalactan proteins, that are often associated with detergent-resistant membranes, appear also to have a functional role in membrane nanodomains.


Detergent-resistant membranes; membrane nanodomains; nanodomain function; ordered membrane domains; plasma membrane ABC proteins; sphingolipids; sterols.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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