Early studies have revealed that some mammalian plasma membrane proteins exist in small nanoclusters. The advent of super-resolution microscopy has corroborated and extended this picture, and led to the suggestion that many, if not most, membrane proteins are clustered at the plasma membrane at nanoscale lengths. In this Commentary, we present selected examples of glycosylphosphatidyl-anchored proteins, Ras family members and several immune receptors that provide evidence for nanoclustering. We advocate the view that nanoclustering is an important part of the hierarchical organization of proteins in the plasma membrane. According to this emerging picture, nanoclusters can be organized on the mesoscale to form microdomains that are capable of supporting cell adhesion, pathogen binding and immune cell-cell recognition amongst other functions. Yet, a number of outstanding issues concerning nanoclusters remain open, including the details of their molecular composition, biogenesis, size, stability, function and regulation. Notions about these details are put forth and suggestions are made about nanocluster function and why this general feature of protein nanoclustering appears to be so prevalent.
CitationGarcía-Parajo, María F. [et al.]. Nanoclustering as a dominant feature of plasma membrane organization. "Journla of Cell Science", 1 Desembre 2014, vol. 127, p. 4995-5005.
All rights reserved. This work is protected by the corresponding intellectual and industrial property rights. Without prejudice to any existing legal exemptions, reproduction, distribution, public communication or transformation of this work are prohibited without permission of the copyright holder. If you wish to make any use of the work not provided for in the law, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org