44. Directed manipulation of membrane proteins by fluorescent magnetic nanoparticles
Li JH, Santos-Otte P, Au B, Rentsch J, Block S, Ewers H* – 2020
The plasma membrane is the interface through which cells interact with their environment. Membrane proteins are embedded in the lipid bilayer of the plasma membrane and their function in this context is often linked to their specific location and dynamics within the membrane. However, few methods are available to manipulate membrane protein location at the single-molecule level. Here, we use fluorescent magnetic nanoparticles (FMNPs) to track membrane molecules and to control their movement. FMNPs allow single-particle tracking (SPT) at 10 nm and 5 ms spatiotemporal resolution, and using a magnetic needle, we pull membrane components laterally with femtonewton-range forces. In this way, we drag membrane proteins over the surface of living cells. Doing so, we detect barriers which we could localize to the submembrane actin cytoskeleton by super-resolution microscopy. We present here a versatile approach to probe membrane processes in live cells via the magnetic control of membrane protein motion.