March 28, 2017

Membrane lipids hop in and out of rafts in the blink of an eye

Top: Typical image sequences (every 33 milliseconds) of a raft domain undergoing signaling (green) and a sphingomyelin analog (red). The sphingomyelin analog molecule was associated with a signaling raft domain from frame 4 to 9 (orange arrows). Bottom: Schematic model showing the transient recruitment of sphingomyelins to various raft domains in the time scale of 10 to 50 milliseconds. The signaling raft itself was stable for up to several tens of minutes, working as a stable signaling platform.

A team of researchers led by Akihiro Kusumi and Kenichi Suzuki of iCeMS has found that molecules move into and out of a specialized region of the cell membrane, called the ‘raft domain’, at unexpectedly fast rates. The discovery was made possible by developing fluorescent compounds that are structurally similar to a special class of lipids called sphingomyelins, and by using a home-built fluorescent microscope sensitive enough to detect single fluorescent molecules.

This research was published online on March 22, 2017 in The Journal of Cell Biology

Further details are available at the following page:
Kyoto University | Membrane lipids hop in and out of rafts in the blink of an eye