TitleToward a new picture of the living plasma membrane.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsKalappurakkal JMathew, Sil P, Mayor S
JournalProtein Sci
Date Published2020 Jun

Our understanding of the plasma membrane structure has undergone a major change since the proposal of the fluid mosaic model of Singer and Nicholson in the 1970s. In this model, the membrane, composed of over thousand lipid and protein species, is organized as a well-equilibrated two-dimensional fluid. Here, the distribution of lipids is largely expected to reflect a multicomponent system, and proteins are expected to be surrounded by an annulus of specialized lipid species. With the recognition that a multicomponent lipid membrane is capable of phase segregation, the membrane is expected to appear as patchwork quilt pattern of membrane domains. However, the constituents of a living membrane are far from being well equilibrated. The living cell membrane actively maintains a trans-bilayer asymmetry of composition, and its constituents are subject to a number of dynamic processes due to synthesis, lipid transfer as well as membrane traffic and turnover. Moreover, membrane constituents engage with the dynamic cytoskeleton of a living cell, and are both passively as well as actively manipulated by this engagement. The extracellular matrix and associated elements also interact with membrane proteins contributing to another layer of interaction. At the nano- and mesoscale, the organization of lipids and proteins emerge from these encounters, as well as from protein-protein, protein-lipid, and lipid-lipid interactions in the membrane. New methods to study the organization of membrane components at these scales have also been developed, and provide an opportunity to synthesize a new picture of the living cell surface as an active membrane composite.

Alternate JournalProtein Sci.
PubMed ID32297381
PubMed Central IDPMC7255504
Grant List / / National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (NCBS, TIFR) /
IA/M/15/1/502018 / / India Alliance of the DBT-Wellcome Trust /