Editors' ChoiceBiochemistry

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Science's STKE  28 Aug 2007:
Vol. 2007, Issue 401, pp. tw315
DOI: 10.1126/stke.4012007tw315

Proteins in the eukaryotic plasma membrane mediate many different functions and are largely partitioned into clusters. Using the SNARE protein syntaxin 1 as an example, Sieber et al. (see the Perspective by White) investigate the mechanism of clustering using high-resolution optical imaging, quantitative biochemistry, and molecular dynamics simulations. Weak protein-protein interactions are balanced by steric repulsion to give densely crowded clusters containing about 75 syntaxins. Proteins within the cluster are immobile but can exchange with freely diffusing molecules. This conceptual framework likely applies to many other membrane proteins.

J. J. Sieber, K. I. Willig, C. Kutzner, C. Gerding-Reimers, B. Harke, G. Donnert, B. Rammner, C. Eggeling, S. W. Hell, H. Grubmüller, T. Lang, Anatomy and dynamics of a supramolecular membrane protein cluster. Science 317, 1072-1076 (2007). [Abstract] [Full Text]

S. H. White, Crowds of syntaxins. Science 317, 1045-1046 (2007). [Summary] [Full Text]

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