Heat stress causes spatially-distinct membrane re-modelling in K562 leukemia cells

Gábor Balogh, Giuseppe Maulucci, Imre Gombos, Ibolya Horváth, Zsolt Török, Mária Péter, Elfrieda Fodor, Tibor Páli, Sándor Benko, Tiziana Parasassi, Marco de Spirito, John L. Harwood, László Vígh

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44 Citations (Scopus)


Cellular membranes respond rapidly to various environmental perturbations. Previously we showed that modulations in membrane fluidity achieved by heat stress (HS) resulted in pronounced membrane organization alterations which could be intimately linked to the expression and cellular distribution of heat shock proteins. Here we examine heat-induced membrane changes using several visualisation methods. With Laurdan two-photon microscopy we demonstrate that, in contrast to the enhanced formation of ordered domains in surface membranes, the molecular disorder is significantly elevated within the internal membranes of cells preexposed to mild HS. These results were compared with those obtained by anisotropy, fluorescence lifetime and electron paramagnetic resonance measurements. All probes detected membrane changes upon HS. However, the structurally different probes revealed substantially distinct alterations in membrane heterogeneity. These data call attention to the careful interpretation of results obtained with only a single label. Subtle changes in membrane microstructure in the decision-making of thermal cell killing could have potential application in cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere21182
JournalPloS one
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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