1932

Abstract

Many critical biological events, including biochemical signaling, membrane traffic, and cell motility, originate at membrane surfaces. Each such event requires that members of a specific group of proteins and lipids rapidly assemble together at a specific site on the membrane surface. Understanding the biophysical mechanisms that stabilize these assemblies is critical to decoding and controlling cellular functions. In this article, we review progress toward a quantitative biophysical understanding of the mechanisms that drive membrane heterogeneity and organization. We begin from a physical perspective, reviewing the fundamental principles and key experimental evidence behind each proposed mechanism. We then shift to a biological perspective, presenting key examples of the role of heterogeneity in biology and asking which physical mechanisms may be responsible. We close with an applied perspective, noting that membrane heterogeneity provides a novel therapeutic target that is being exploited by a growing number of studies at the interface of biology, physics, and engineering.

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2020-05-06
2024-04-20
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