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Lipid Rafts As a Membrane-Organizing Principle

Cell membranes display a tremendous complexity of lipids and proteins designed to perform the functions cells require. To coordinate these functions, the membrane is able to laterally segregate its constituents. This capability is based on dynamic liquid-liquid immiscibility and underlies the raft concept of membrane subcompartmentalization. Lipid rafts are fluctuating nanoscale assemblies of sphingolipid, cholesterol, and proteins that can be stabilized to coalesce, forming platforms that function in membrane signaling and trafficking. Here we review the evidence for how this principle combines the potential for sphingolipid-cholesterol self-assembly with protein specificity to selectively focus membrane bioactivity.

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Resource Type: Journal article/Issue, Illustration, Diagram
Audience Level: High school upper division 11-12, Undergraduate lower division 13-14, Undergraduate upper division 15-16, Graduate, Professional (degree program), Continuing education

Author and Copyright


Authors and Editors: Daniel Lingwood of Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Kai Simons of Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics
Publisher: AAAS
Format: text/html
Copyright and other restrictions: Yes
Cost: No

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