A Live Look At Membrane Tension At The Plasma Membrane And Beyond

The plasma membrane (PM) is a lipid bilayer that has highly dynamic and fluidic structural properties. These characteristics are essential for cell processes like cell division, migration, and endocytosis. During these cellular processes targeted regions of the PM undergo directed movement which is often carried out by controlled forces from the underlying cytoskeletal network; additionally, mechanical tension, which is the energetic cost of increasing the membrane area, likely plays a role in many of these processes. Scientist’s understanding of membrane tension and the extent to which it controls the aforementioned processes remain incomplete in part due to the challenging and highly specialized techniques used to study it, which include atomic force microscopy and the use of optical tweezers to hold tubes/tethers of the PM(1). A novel planarizable push-pull probe (Figure 1A), Flipper TR, was recently developed, and when paired with Fluorescence-lifetime imaging microscopy it can efficiently measure lipid packing and membrane tension in a linear fashion(2). The following examples highlight how Flipper TR has been used to investigate the role of membrane tension in biological processes as well as in models of disease.

Read more

Also included in this newsletter:

  • NEW FLIPPER TR Probes, Spirochome SiR and SPY Probes and BG Substrates.
  • Related Publications