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Sci. STKE, 8 April 2003
Vol. 2003, Issue 177, p. pl9
[DOI: 10.1126/stke.2003.177.pl9]


Observing Cell Surface Signaling Domains Using Electron Microscopy

Ian A. Prior1, Robert G Parton2,3,4, and John F. Hancock2*

1The Physiological Laboratory, University of Liverpool, UK.
2Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
3Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
4School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

Abstract: The plasma membrane is made up of a complex mosaic of different functional microdomains, but the tools required to accurately visualize them have always been limited. We present a protocol that allows both inner and outer leaflet domains to be visualized on a nanometer scale. With a combination of electron microscopic and statistical analysis approaches, it is possible to screen proteins associating with, and co-localizing within, lipid rafts and other morphologically featureless microdomains. The approach has enormous potential to determine plasma membrane organization and the spatial dynamics of regulated signaling and membrane trafficking events associated with the cell surface.

*Corresponding author. Telephone, +61 7 3365 5288; fax, +61 7 3365 5511; e-mail, j.hancock{at}

Citation: I. A. Prior, R. G. Parton, J. F. Hancock, Observing Cell Surface Signaling Domains Using Electron Microscopy. Sci. STKE 2003, pl9 (2003).

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