Compositional lipid domains ("lipid rafts") in plasma membranes are believed to be important components of many cellular processes. The mechanisms by which cells regulate the sizes and lifetimes of these spatially extended domains are poorly understood at the moment. Here we show that the competition between phase separation in an immiscible lipid system and active cellular lipid transport processes naturally leads to the formation of such domains. Furthermore, we demonstrate that local interactions with immobile membrane proteins can spatially localize the rafts and lead to further clustering.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)