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Lipid-protein interactions in membrane organisation (EMRC/ECORES/08-EuroMembrane)

English title Lipid-protein interactions in membrane organisation (EMRC/ECORES/08-EuroMembrane)
Applicant van der Goot Gisou
Number 126140
Funding scheme Project funding (special)
Research institution Global Health Institute EPFL SV-DO
Institution of higher education EPF Lausanne - EPFL
Main discipline Molecular Biology
Start/End 01.01.2009 - 31.05.2012
Approved amount 357'810.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Molecular Biology

Keywords (11)

cell membranes; lipid rafts; single microscopy; fluorescence correlation spectroscopy; immunorecepto; transmembrane proteins; bilayer; lipids; palmitoylation; rafts; microdomains

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
Membranes are central to understanding cellular organization and function. About one third of the genome encodes membrane proteins and many other proteins spend part of their lifetime bound to membranes. The major class of membrane proteins are the transmembrane proteins, spanning the bilayer. The other class are the peripheral membrane proteins, which function by binding to the interfacial regions of the bilayer, either at the exoplasmic or at the cytoplasmic side. The third class of proteins is anchored in the membrane by covalently attached lipid moieties. The lipid bilayer, which constitutes the fluid matrix of the membrane was for years neglected. The lipid matrix itself was considered to be a solvent for membrane proteins. This view changed with the increasing awareness of the complexity of the lipid composition of bilayers. Eukaryotic membrane lipids are glycerophospholipids, sphingolipids, and sterols and it is thought that more than 1000 different lipid species are present in mammalian cells. Why there are so many lipids in cell membranes is not understood. How lipids and proteins are organzid whith the two dimensional space of the membrane is not well know and hotely debated. The consensus view is however that the membrane is not homogeneous and then the challenge is to understand how the formation of domains at different scales, nano, micro and macro, occurs and what the function of these domains is. A type of domain that as received much attention both in terms of study and controversy, are the so-called lipid rafts which are rich on cholesterol. The aim of the present consortium, which brings together 7 European groups and is coordinated by Prof. Kai Simons, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (Dresden), is to understand how protein-lipid interaction govern the organization of the eukaryotic plasma membrane. Five topics will be dealt with:1) Existence and fluctuating nanoscale rafts; 2) Formation of raft platforms; 3) Membrane protein association with raft domains; 4) Reconstitution in vitro ; 5) Simulation and modeling. The van der Goot will in be involved in subproject 3 focusing on how membrane proteins interact with different lipid species and how lipid-protein interactions contribute to membrane function. We will in particular study the role of palmitoylation, which is a reversible addition of lipids to proteins.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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