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Over the last several decades, an impressive array of advanced microscopic and analytical tools, such as single-particle tracking and nanoscopic fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, has been applied to characterize the lateral organization and mobility of components in the plasma membrane. Such analysis can tell researchers about the local dynamic composition and structure of membranes and is important for predicting the outcome of membrane-based reactions. However, owing to the unresolved complexity of the membrane and the structures peripheral to it, identification of the detailed molecular origin of the interactions that regulate the organization and mobility of the membrane has not proceeded quickly. This Perspective presents an overview of how cell-surface structure may give rise to the types of lateral mobility that are observed and some potentially fruitful future directions to elucidate the architecture of these structures in more molecular detail.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





806 - 819


actin cortex, lateral mobility, membrane dynamics, membrane proteins, pericellular matrix, plasma membrane, rafts, Cell Membrane, Lipid Bilayers, Membrane Lipids, Membrane Microdomains, Membrane Proteins