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Biological Chemistry

Editor-in-Chief: Brüne, Bernhard

Editorial Board Member: Buchner, Johannes / Ludwig, Stephan / Sies, Helmut / Turk, Boris / Wittinghofer, Alfred

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Use of Detergents to Study Membrane Rafts: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

H. Shogomori / D.A. Brown

Citation Information: Biological Chemistry. Volume 384, Issue 9, Pages 1259–1263, ISSN (Print) 1431-6730, DOI: 10.1515/BC.2003.139, June 2005

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Eukaryotic cell membranes contain microdomains called lipid rafts, which are cholesterol-rich domains in which lipid acyl chains are tightly packed and highly extended. A variety of proteins associate preferentially with rafts, and this raft association is important in a wide range of functions. A powerful and widely used method for studying lipid rafts takes advantage of their insolubility in non-ionic detergents. Here we describe the basis of detergent insolubility, and review strengths, limitations, and unresolved puzzles regarding this method.

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