Information about the distributions of cholesterol and sphingolipids within the plasma membranes of mammalian cells provides insight into the roles of these molecules in membrane function. In this report, high-resolution secondary ion mass spectrometry was used to image the distributions of metabolically incorporated rare isotope-labeled sphingolipids and cholesterol on the surfaces of nonpolarized epithelial cells. Sphingolipid domains that were not enriched with cholesterol were detected in the plasma membranes of subconfluent Madin-Darby canine kidney cells. Surprisingly, cholesterol-enriched sphingolipid patches were observed on the substrate adjacent to these cells. Based on the shapes of these cholesterol-enriched sphingolipid patches on the substrate and their proximity to cellular projections, we hypothesize that they are deposits of membranous particles released by the cell.
- Lipid domains
- Madin-Darby canine kidney cells
- Secondary ion mass spectrometry imaging
- Stable isotope labeling
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology