Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

One and one is not two: taking a fresh look at membrane interfaces

Plasma membranes sit at the divide — conceptually and literally — between the interior and exterior milieu of cells, coordinating communication between nearby cells and structuring surrounding tissue. While great effort over the past half-century has advanced our understanding of the molecular organization of the plasma membrane, much of this work has focused on free plasma membranes that are not in contact with other cells. Recent studies have highlighted unique and unexpected features of membrane interfaces formed between two cells, where the physical and chemical constraints of the interface conspire to create a system that is distinct from either plasma membrane alone. Inspired by this emerging view of cell–cell contacts, we propose classifying interfaces between cells as a distinct cellular compartment.

This is a preview of subscription content

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1.

    Cavey, M., Rauzi, M., Lenne, P.-F. & Lecuit, T. A two-tiered mechanism for stabilization and immobilization of E-cadherin. Nature 453, 751–756 (2008).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Schmid, E. M. et al. Size-dependent protein segregation at membrane interfaces. Nat. Phys. 12, 704–711 (2016).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Taylor, M. J., Husain, K., Gartner, Z. J., Mayor, S. & Vale, R. D. A. DNA-based T cell receptor reveals a role for receptor clustering in ligand discrimination. Cell 169, 108–119 (2017).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Benham-Pyle, B. W., Pruitt, B. L. & Nelson, W. J. Cell adhesion. Mechanical strain induces E-cadherin-dependent Yap1 and β-catenin activation to drive cell cycle entry. Science 348, 1024–1027 (2015).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Kourtidis, A. et al. Cadherin complexes recruit mRNAs and RISC to regulate epithelial cell signaling. J. Cell Biol. 216, 3073–3085 (2017).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

Work by the authors is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (R01GM114344 and R01GM114671). B.B. was supported by a Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA fellowship from the NIH (1F32GM115091). D.A.F. is a Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Daniel A. Fletcher.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Additional information

Additional information

A comprehensive Review on composition, regulation and roles of lipid rafts: https://www.nature.com/articles/nrm.2017.16.

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Belardi, B., Fletcher, D.A. One and one is not two: taking a fresh look at membrane interfaces. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 19, 747–748 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41580-018-0057-3

Download citation

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing