Barriers to diffusion of proteins and lipids play an important role in generating functionally specialized regions of the plasma membrane. Such barriers have been reported at the base of axons, at the bud neck in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, as well as at the tight junctions of epithelia. How diffusion barriers are formed and how they effect behavior of both inner and outer leaflets of the bilayer are not fully understood. Here, we provide evidence for a cortical barrier to diffusion within the cleavage furrow of mammalian cells. Photobleaching-based assays were used to measure diffusion of three membrane proteins with differing topologies and putative lipid raft association, as well as the lipid analog dialkylindocarbocyanine (DiI C18, ), across the cleavage furrow. There was a block in diffusion of proteins with a cytosolic domain, but not of proteins anchored in the outer leaflet of the PM or of DiI. Diffusion of lipid raft proteins in the inner and outer leaflets of the membrane was not directly coupled. The distribution of Septin proteins, as opposed to cortical actin, was consistent with a functional role in limiting diffusion.
Copyright 2004 Elsevier Ltd.