Project R-2148

Title

Diffusion and clustering of isoforms of the glycine receptor in the plasma membrane of living cells: a micro- and nanoscopic study

Abstract

The lateral membrane organization of the plasma membrane of living cells is heterogeneous. It is assumed that there are membrane microdomains composed of cholesterol and sphingolipids. These structures can function as platform for a variety of processes such a clustering of proteins. These microdomains are too small for direct observation with optical microscopy. Indirect evidence for their existence can be obtained by microfluoriometric methods. However, there is no general consensus concerning their existence. Additional studies at various time and length scales are required. Immunohistochemical stainings of the various forms of the glycine receptor in tissue slices exhibit a punctate pattern that is convolved with the optical response function of the microscope. The present project aims to apply a recent nanoscopic method (PALM) to investigate the clustering properties of the glycine receptor in living cells. The measurements will be correlated with diffusion measurements performed with different techniques based on ensemble and time averages. The function of the membrane microdomains and the protein-protein interactions in the clustering properties of the glycine receptor will be explored. The effect of cholesterol and of the expression level of the receptor will be investigated.

Period of project

01 January 2010 - 31 December 2013