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Consequences of membrane topography
KTH, School of Engineering Sciences (SCI), Applied Physics, Cell Physics. KTH, Centres, Science for Life Laboratory, SciLifeLab.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5178-7593
2013 (English)In: The FEBS Journal, ISSN 1742-464X, E-ISSN 1742-4658, Vol. 280, no 12, 2775-2784 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The surface of mammalian cells is neither smooth nor flat and cells have several times more plasma membrane than the minimum area required to accommodate their shape. We discuss the biological function of this apparent excess membrane that allows the cells to migrate and undergo shape changes and probably plays a role in signal transduction. Methods for studying membrane folding and topography - atomic force microscopy, scanning ion conductance microscopy, fluorescence polarization microscopy and linear dichroism - are described and evaluated. Membrane folding and topography is frequently ignored when interpreting microscopy data. This has resulted in several misconceptions regarding for instance colocalization, membrane organization and molecular clustering. We suggest simple ways to avoid these pitfalls and invoke Occam's razor - that simple explanations are preferable to complex ones. Topography, i.e. deviations from a smooth surface, should always be ruled out as the cause of anomalous data before other explanations are presented. Cell membranes are convoluted into submicrometer ruffles, which are impossible to resolve by most experimental techniques. Here we discuss the importance of considering such subresolution membrane organization when interpreting experimental data and give some examples of techniques where membrane topography can be probed. Finally we speculate what consequences ruffling could have for cellular processes, e. g. receptor signaling.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 280, no 12, 2775-2784 p.
Keyword [en]
cell shape, cell signalling, diffusion, linear dichroism, membrane models, plasma membrane, probe orientation, scanning ion conductance microscopy, topography
National Category
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-134282DOI: 10.1111/febs.12209ISI: 000320037900006ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84878763652OAI: diva2:666227
Swedish Research CouncilSwedish Foundation for Strategic Research Science for Life Laboratory - a national resource center for high-throughput molecular bioscience

QC 20131122

Available from: 2013-11-22 Created: 2013-11-20 Last updated: 2013-12-10Bibliographically approved

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Önfelt, Björn
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