Assessment of Membrane Fluidity Fluctuations during Cellular Development Reveals Time and Cell Type Specificity

Bakiza Kamal Noutsi, Enrico Gratton, Saharoui Chaieb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Cell membrane is made up of a complex structure of lipids and proteins that diffuse laterally giving rise to what we call membrane fluidity. During cellular development, such as differentiation cell membranes undergo dramatic fluidity changes induced by proteins such as ARC and Cofilin among others. In this study we used the generalized polarization (GP) property of fluorescent probe Laurdan using two-photon microscopy to determine membrane fluidity as a function of time and for various cell lines. A low GP value corresponds to a higher fluidity and a higher GP value is associated with a more rigid membrane. Four different cell lines were monitored such as hN2, NIH3T3, HEK293 and L6 cells. Membrane fluidity was measured at 12h, 72h and 92 h. Our results show significant changes in membrane fluidity among all cell types at different time points. GP values tend to increase significantly within 92 h in hN2 cells and 72 h in NIH3T3 cells and only at 92 h in HEK293 cells. L6 showed a marked decrease in membrane fluidity at 72 h and starts to increase at 92 h. As expected, NIH3T3 cells have more rigid membrane at earlier time points. On the other hand, neurons tend to have the highest membrane fluidity at early time points emphasizing its correlation with plasticity and the need for this malleability during differentiation. This study sheds light on the involvement of membrane fluidity during neuronal differentiation and development of other cell lines.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e0158313
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 30 2016

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The authors wish to thank King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) for financial support. We also thank Hongtao Chen for the training on Olympus FV1000 inverted microscope, Per Niklas Hedde for helpful discussions and Milka Stakic for providing HEK293, NIH3T3 and L6 cells.


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