Do proteins facilitate the formation of cholesterol-rich domains?
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Both biological and model membranes can exhibit the formation of domains. A brief review of some of the diverse methodologies used to identify the presence of domains in membranes is given. Some of these domains are enriched in cholesterol. The segregation of lipids into cholesterol-rich domains can occur in both pure lipid systems as well as membranes containing peptides and proteins. Peptides and proteins can promote the formation of cholesterol-rich domains not only by preferentially interacting with cholesterol and being sequestered into these regions of the membrane, but also indirectly as a consequence of being excluded from cholesterol-rich domains. The redistribution of components is dictated by the thermodynamics of the system. The formation of domains in a biological membrane is a consequence of all of the intermolecular interactions including those among lipid molecules as well as between lipids and proteins.
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