Cell-derived plasma membrane vesicles as minimal cells for analyzing transmembrane signaling

Cellular signalling is classically investigated by measuring optical or electrical properties of single or populations of living cells. Here we show how cell-derived vesicles can be used for anlaysing transmembrane signalling. The vesicles are derived from live mammalian cells by using either chemicals, or by optical tweezers and they comprise parts of the plasma membrane and cytosol of the mother cell. We measured in vesicles derived from individual cells with single molecule sensitivity the different steps of G protein-coupled receptor mediated signalling like ligand binding to receptors, subsequent G protein activation and finally receptor deactivation by interaction with arrestin. Cell-derived plasma membrane vesicles represent the smallest autonomous containers capable of performing cellular signaling reactions thus functioning like minimal cells. Observing cellular signalling reactions in individual vesicles opens the door for downscaling bioanalysis of cellular functions to the attoliter range, multiplexing single cell analysis and investigating receptor mediated signalling in multiarray format.

Presented at:
56th Biophysical Society Meeting, San Diego, California, USA, February 25-29, 2012

 Record created 2012-03-13, last modified 2018-03-17

Vesicle production by optical tweezers:
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