Asymmetric localization of flotillins/reggies in preassembled platforms confers inherent polarity to hematopoietic cells

Lawrence Rajendran, Madhan Masilamani, Samuel Solomon, Ritva Tikkanen, Claudia A.O. Stuermer, Helmut Plattner, Harald Illges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


Hematopoietic cells have long been defined as round, nonpolar cells that show uniform distribution of cell surface-associated molecules. However, recent analyses of the immunological synapse and the importance of lipid microdomains in signaling have shed new light on the aspect of lymphocyte polarization during the activation processes, but none of the molecules implicated so far in either the activation process or the microdomain residency are known to have a preferential localization in nonactivated cells. Chemical crosslinking and fluorescence resonance energy transfer methods have allowed the visualization of certain glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored proteins in lipid rafts but so far no microdomain resident protein has been shown to exist as visible stable platforms in the membrane. We report here that two lipid microdomain resident proteins, flotillins/reggies, form preassembled platforms in hematopoietic cells. These platforms recruit signaling molecules upon activation through lipid rafts. The preassembled platforms significantly differ from the canonical cholesterol-dependent "lipid rafts," as they are resistant to cholesterol-disrupting agents. Most evidence for the functional relevance of microdomains in living cells remains indirect. Using laser scanning confocal microscopy, we show that these proteins exist as stable, microscopically patent domains localizing asymmetrically to one pole of the cell. We present evidence that the asymmetric concentration of these microdomain resident proteins is built up during cytokinesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8241-8246
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number14
StatePublished - 8 Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytokinesis
  • Lipid rafts
  • Lymphocyte signaling
  • Microdomains
  • Polarization


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