I. What are Membrane Rafts?
II. Looking for Functional Rafts in Cell Membranes
III. Making Rafts in Living Cell Membranes
Part I: What are Membrane Rafts?
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The plasma membrane demarcates the inside of the living cell from the outside, serving both as the ultimate physical barrier and location where the cell transacts its business with the outside world. The study of the structure of cell membranes continues to be fertile ground for research for many biologists today; the idea of “Membrane Rafts” has only heightened interest in this area. The main focus of this three part series is to explore the concept of “Membrane Rafts”. In the first part, we will examine what is popularly understood by the term “Membrane Raft” and ask why this concept was proposed in the first place. This requires an appreciation of the most dominant picture of a biological membrane, “the fluid-mosaic” model. “Membrane Rafts” were hypothesized in response to this model to account for observations of segregation of membrane components made in cell systems. Different proposals to account for the segregation of membrane components and many methodologies used to identify membrane rafts, including the pervasive detergent insolubility method, are also discussed in this lecture. This part is aimed at a general audience or for an advanced undergraduate-level student. More >>
Satyajit “Jitu” Mayor was born in Baroda, India and received his MSc in Chemistry from IIT, Mumbai. He obtained his Ph.D. in Life Sciences from the Rockefeller University, New York, working in the Laboratory of Molecular Parasitology with Prof. George Cross where he studied the biosynthesis of GPI-anchors in the African sleeping sickness parasite, Trypanosoma brucei. He then moved to the Department of Pathology at Columbia University, New York, to study endocytic trafficking of lipids and proteins in Prof. Frederick R. Maxfield’s laboratory, where he developed tools to study the trafficking of GPI-anchored proteins in mammalian cells using quantitative fluorescence microscopy. More >>