Mobility of cell surface receptors: a re-evaluation

FEBS Lett. 1998 Jun 23;430(1-2):88-91. doi: 10.1016/s0014-5793(98)00595-x.


It has long been known from fluorescence recovery after photobleaching experiments that the mobility of most cell surface receptors is much smaller than expected for free diffusion of proteins in a fluid lipid bilayer. Single-particle tracking experiments are currently revealing the complexity of the constraints to free diffusion. Evidence has been obtained for several different processes: domain-limited diffusion, temporary confinement and anomalous diffusion. The type of motion exhibited by a given receptor will profoundly influence the rate of any functional process which requires movement in the plane of the membrane. In particular, anomalous diffusion greatly reduces the distance travelled by a receptor on a time scale of minutes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diffusion
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Fluorescence
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / physiology


  • Receptors, Cell Surface