News FocusMysteries of the Cell

Do Lipid Rafts Exist?

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science  25 Nov 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6059, pp. 1046-1047
DOI: 10.1126/science.334.6059.1046-b

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Summary

Many scientists argue that the molecular platforms that sail on the cell's outer, or plasma, membrane, known as lipid rafts, either don't exist or have no biological relevance, but their supporters insist the idea remains afloat. Cell biologists say it's important to resolve the lipid raft debate eventually because the plasma membrane controls what enters and exits cells and how they send and receive signals. Although researchers have proposed several alternatives for how the plasma membrane organizes itself, none of them has caught on. But if a better explanation rises to the surface, cell biologists will have to give some of the credit to rafts.

This article is part of the Mysteries in the Cell collection.