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Neutron scattering to study membrane systems: from lipid vesicles to living cells....

Publication Type
Conference Paper
Journal Name
Biophysical journal
Publication Date
Conference Name
Biophysical Society 61st Annual Meeting
Conference Location
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America
Conference Sponsor
Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Bruker, Science Advances
Conference Date

The existence and role of lateral lipid organization in biological membranes has been studied and contested for more than 30 years. Lipid domains, or rafts, are hypothesized as scalable compartments in biological membranes, providing appropriate physical environments to their resident membrane proteins. This implies that lateral lipid organization is associated with a range of biological functions, such as protein co-localization, membrane trafficking, and cell signaling, to name just a few. Neutron scattering techniques have proven to be an excellent tool to investigate these structural features in model lipids, and more recently, in living cells. I will discuss our recent work using neutrons to probe the structure and mechanical properties in model lipid systems and our current efforts in using neutrons to probe the structure and organization of the bilayer in a living cell. These efforts in living cells have used genetic and biochemical strategies to generate a large neutron scattering contrast, making the membrane visible. I will present our results showing in vivo bilayer structure and discuss the outlook for this approach.