Membrane Dynamics


Biological membranes are fluid dynamic closed structures that separate the inside from the outside of cells and compartments within cells. Proteins are inserted into random or more organized regions of a bimolecular ordered fluid film of lipids, where they display different degrees of motion within the plane of the membrane, but almost no (flipā€flop) motion across the lipid bilayer.

Keywords: lipid bilayer; membrane fluidity; lipid domains; single molecule tracking

Figure 1.

Structures and distributions of some common lipids of eukaryotic plasma membranes.

a Composition of plasma membranes of mast (RBL–2H3) cells for phospholipids and sphingomyelin (sum of these two classes =  100%). From Fridriksson et al. .

Figure 2.

A contemporary model of a cell plasma membrane. The model shows asymmetric lipid and protein distributions, coexisting liquid‐disordered and liquid‐ordered (raft) membrane domains, glycosylations on the exoplasmic side and interactions with the cytoskeleton on the cytoplasmic side of the membrane. Doubly acylated proteins are found in both leaflets of the more ordered lipid domains and singly prenylated proteins in the cytoplasmic leaflet of the more disordered lipid domains.



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Further Reading

Brown DA and London E (1998) Functions of lipid rafts in biological membranes. Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology 14: 111–136.

Edidin M (1997) Lipid microdomains in cell surface membranes. Current Opinion in Structural Biology 7: 528–532.

Jacobson K and Dietrich C (1999) Looking at lipid rafts? Trends in Cell Biology 9: 87–91.

Kusumi A and Sako Y (1996) Cell surface organization by the membrane skeleton. Current Opinion in Cell Biology 8: 566–574.

Simons K and Ikonen E (1997) Functional rafts in cell membranes. Nature 387: 569–572.

Simons K and Toomre D (2000) Lipid rafts and signal transduction. Nature Review of Molecular and Cell Biology 1: 31–39.

Sheets ED, Holowka D and Baird B (1999) Membrane organization in immunoglobulin E receptor signaling. Current Opinion in Chemical Biology 3: 95–99.

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Tamm, Lukas K, Kiessling, Volker, and Wagner, Michael L(Mar 2002) Membrane Dynamics. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001263]