Biophysical Society Conference | Tahoe 2024

Molecular Biophysics of Membranes

Sunday Speaker Abstracts

HOW DOES THE PLASMA MEMBRANE PARTICIPATE IN STIMULATED CELL SIGNALING? Barbara A Baird 1 ; David A Holowka 1 ; 1 Cornell University, Chemistry & Chemical Biology, Ithaca, NY, USA Cells are poised to respond to their physical environment and must distinguish specific stimuli from biological noise. Specific response mechanisms depend on collective molecular interactions that are regulated in time and space by the plasma membrane and its connections with the cytoskeleton and intracellular structures. Molecular stimuli engage their specific receptors to initiate a transmembrane signal, and the surrounding system efficiently rearranges to amplify this nanoscale interaction to microscale assemblies, yielding a cellular response that often reaches to longer length scales within the organism. A striking example of signal integration over multiple length scales is the allergic immune response. IgE receptors (FceRI) on mast cells are the gatekeepers of this response, and this system has proven to be a valuable model for investigating receptor-mediated cellular activation. My talk will describe our marathon efforts to measure biophysical properties associated with transmembrane signaling in live cells. We have combined quantitative fluorescence microscopy with other approaches to gain detailed insight into the poised, “resting state” of the plasma membrane and how signaling, initiated by an external stimulus, is regulated and targeted within this milieu.


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