Regulation of cell surface composition

Regulation of cell surface composition

Cell surface components such as lipids and proteins must be spatially and temporally organized for the execution of several functions, including receptor signaling and vesicular trafficking.

To investigate the role of active processes in cell surface organization, researchers in the journal PNAS used a reconstituted in vitro system consisting of a lipid bilayer, membrane-associated actin-binding components, actin filaments, and myosin motors.

The authors found that the active mechanics of actomyosin complexes, which are made up of actin filaments and myosin motors, can lead to the clustering of membrane components and regulate the local composition of the cell surface.

By systematically changing actin and myosin concentrations and actin filament length, the authors revealed distinct states of actomyosin organization at the membrane surface after ATP consumption. The ATP-dependent actin and myosin dynamics produced transient accumulations of actin-binding membrane molecules, similar to that seen in living cells.

The results suggest that active actomyosin processes can affect the organization of membrane proteins and drive local membrane composition. According to the authors, the actomyosin-driven organization of cell membrane components may have implications for cell signaling.