Life at the Cell's edge; the active membrane bilayer
The plasma membrane of the living cell acts as an interface between the cell and its external milieu and serves as a dynamic conduit for information transduction. It is composed of membrane lipids and protein in the form of a fluid bilayer. At the same time the cell membrane is a highly organized system, with specific components in states that are far away from chemical equilibrium. Imaging the local organization of membrane components suggeststhat the active mechanics of dynamic cortical actin filaments facilitates the creation of these states, resulting in active actin-membrane composite, The dynamic actin participates in generating localized domains in the membrane. Signalling receptors embedded in the membrane regulatethe molecular machinery necessary for the generation of the dynamic actin.This has functional consequences for membrane receptor function and provides insights into how this active organization may inform the generation of a living cell membrane.