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FEBS Lett. 2010 May 3;584(9):1685-93. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2009.12.043. Epub 2009 Dec 28.

Membrane rafting: from apical sorting to phase segregation.

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Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany.


In this review we describe the history of the development of the raft concept for membrane sub-compartmentalization. From its early beginnings as a mechanism for apical sorting in epithelial cells the concept has evolved to a general principle for membrane organisation. After a shaky start with crude methodology based on detergent extraction the field has become increasingly sophisticated, employing a host of different methods that support the existence of dynamic raft domains in membranes. These are composed of fluctuating nanoscale assemblies of sphingolipid, cholesterol and proteins that can be stabilized to coalesce, forming platforms that function in membrane signalling and trafficking.

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