Computational model describes self-organisation of polarized plasma membrane of hepatocyte

Scientists from the Virtual Liver Network found that both types of syntaxins (syntaxin 3 and syntaxin 4) are transported via small vesicles to the plasma membrane of the hepatocyte. Upon arrival to the membrane, the vesicles fuse with the membrane.

Vesicles which carry mostly syntaxin 3 fuse predominantly with those membrane sections that are already equipped with many syntaxin 3 and only few syntaxin 4.

  • Syntaxin 4-enriched vesicles behave in the opposite way. Using this knowledge and experimental data, a scientist Dr. Bernd Binder from the group of Prof. Holzhütter (Computational Systems Biochemistry Group in Charite, Berlin) generated a computational model. This model describes the self-organisation of the vesicle transport system together with segregation of syntaxin sections in the plasma membrane. This process is shown on the animated image.
  • The image depicts two phenomena: (1) Gradually larger organelles are formed within the hepatocyte by numerous fusion events among small vesicles. (2) The plasma membrane is equipped step by step with both types of syntaxin molecules. They are already segregated by the delivery of syntaxin 3 proteins to locations with high syntaxin 3 content and the delivery of syntaxin 4 to regions hosting many syntaxins of type 4.
  • Author of text and image: Bernd Binder

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