The Journal of biological chemistry

Nanoscale Landscape of Phosphoinositides Revealed by Specific Pleckstrin Homology (PH) Domains Using Single-molecule Superresolution Imaging in the Plasma Membrane.

PMID 26396197


Both phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate (PI4P) and phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PI(4,5)P2) are independent plasma membrane (PM) determinant lipids that are essential for multiple cellular functions. However, their nanoscale spatial organization in the PM remains elusive. Using single-molecule superresolution microscopy and new photoactivatable fluorescence probes on the basis of pleckstrin homology domains that specifically recognize phosphatidylinositides in insulin-secreting INS-1 cells, we report that the PI(4,5)P2 probes exhibited a remarkably uniform distribution in the major regions of the PM, with some sparse PI(4,5)P2-enriched membrane patches/domains of diverse sizes (383 ± 14 nm on average). Quantitative analysis revealed a modest concentration gradient that was much less steep than previously thought, and no densely packed PI(4,5)P2 nanodomains were observed. Live-cell superresolution imaging further demonstrated the dynamic structural changes of those domains in the flat PM and membrane protrusions. PI4P and phosphatidylinositol (3,4,5)-trisphosphate (PI(3,4,5)P3) showed similar spatial distributions as PI(4,5)P2. These data reveal the nanoscale landscape of key inositol phospholipids in the native PM and imply a framework for local cellular signaling and lipid-protein interactions at a nanometer scale.