Bulletin of the Chemical Society of Japan
Online ISSN : 1348-0634
Print ISSN : 0009-2673
ISSN-L : 0009-2673
Vol. 90 Commemorative Account: Self-Organization
Lipid Raft Formation Driven by Push and Pull Forces
Masaru MukaiSteven L. Regen
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2017 Volume 90 Issue 10 Pages 1083-1087


The lipid raft hypothesis is one of the most significant concepts that has emerged over the past two decades in cell membrane research. In essence, lipid rafts are thought to consist of tightly packed aggregates of cholesterol and sphingolipids that “float in a sea” of fluid phospholipid. Despite its popularity, many basic questions surrounding the lipid raft hypothesis remain to be answered. In particular, their size, their lifetimes and their biological functions have not yet been firmly established. At a more fundamental level, the forces that drive the formation of lipid rafts are not well understood. In this review, recent “nearest-neighbor recognition” (NNR) experiments are discussed that bear on these forces. In particular, these experiments have revealed a major and, heretofore, unrecognized role that polyunsaturated phospholipids are likely to play in the formation of lipid rafts.

The push and pull forces that we have measured in simple model systems, based on the use of the nearest-neighbor recognition method, leads us to posit that polyunsaturated phospholipids are likely to play a major role in the formation of lipid rafts. Fullsize Image
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© 2017 The Chemical Society of Japan
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