• Hsiao-Mei Wu, Ying-Hsiu Lin, Tzu-Chi Yen, and Chia-Lung Hsieh*, Scientific Reports 6 20542 (2016) Website
    Nanoscopic substructures of raft-mimetic liquid-ordered membrane domains revealed by high-speed single-particle tracking
Lipid rafts are membrane nanodomains that facilitate important cell functions. Despite recent advances in identifying the biological significance of rafts, nature and regulation mechanism of rafts are largely unknown due to the difficulty of resolving dynamic molecular interaction of rafts at the nanoscale. Here, we investigate organization and single-molecule dynamics of rafts by monitoring lateral diffusion of single molecules in raft-containing reconstituted membranes supported on mica substrates. Using high-speed interferometric scattering (iSCAT) optical microscopy and small gold nanoparticles as labels, motion of single lipids is recorded via single-particle tracking (SPT) with nanometer spatial precision and microsecond temporal resolution. Processes of single molecules partitioning into and escaping from the raft-mimetic liquid-ordered (Lo) domains are directly visualized in a continuous manner with unprecedented clarity. Importantly, we observe subdiffusion of saturated lipids in the Lo domain in microsecond timescale, indicating the nanoscopic heterogeneous molecular arrangement of the Lo domain. Further analysis of the diffusion trajectory shows the presence of nano-subdomains of the Lo phase, as small as 10 nm, which transiently trap the lipids. Our results provide the first experimental evidence of non-uniform molecular organization of the Lo phase, giving a new view of how rafts recruit and confine molecules in cell membranes.