Lateral variations in membrane composition are postulated to play a central role in many cellular events, but it has been difficult to probe membrane composition and organization on length scales of tens to hundreds of nanometers. We present a high-resolution imaging secondary ion mass spectrometry technique to reveal the lipid distribution within a phase-separated membrane with a lateral resolution of ∼100 nanometers. Quantitative information about the chemical composition within small lipid domains was obtained with the use of isotopic labels to identify each molecular species. Composition variations were detected within some domains.
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