Reversible dissolution of lipid microdomains close to the physiological temperature in human breast cancer cell membranes.

Orsini F., Corsetto P.A., Arosio P., Rizzo A.M., Hoogenboom B.W.

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The formation of lipid microdomains is presumed to play an important role in various cellular functions, but their nature remains controversial. Here we report on microdomain formation in isolated, detergent-resistant membranes from MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells, studied by Atomic Force Microscopy. Whereas microdomains were readily observed at room temperature, they shrank in size at higher temperatures and mostly disappeared around 37 ${}^\circC.$ This microdomain shrinking was accompanied by a gradual reduction of the height difference between the microdomains and the surrounding membrane, consistent with the behaviour expected for lipids that are laterally segregated in liquid ordered and liquid disordered domains.

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