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  • Author or Editor: L. Bene x
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Thirty years ago Singer and Nicolson constructed the “fluid mosaic model” of the membrane, which described the structural and functional characteristics of the plasma membrane of non-polarized cells like circulating blood lymphocytes as a fluid lipid phase accommodating proteins with a relatively free mobility. It is a rare phenomenon in biology that such a model could survive 30 years and even today it has a high degree of validity. However, in the light of new data it demands some modifications. In this minireview we present a new concept, which revives the SN model, by shifting the emphasis from fluidity to mosaicism, i.e. to lipid microdomains and rafts. A concise summary of data and key methods is given, proving the existence of non-random co-distribution patterns of different receptor kinds in the microdomain system of the plasma membrane. Furthermore, we present evidence that proteins are not only accommodated by the lipid phase, but they are integral structural elements of it. Novel suggestions to the SN model help to develop a modernized version of the old paradigm in the light of new data.

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