Gert Helge Hansen
Morphogenesis and Differentiation Program
Panum, Bygning: 18.2.34
2200 København N
Mucosal membrane biology
key phrases for our current projects:
- Apical membrane traffic
- Lipid "rafts"
Small intestinal absorptive cells, enterocytes, lead a short but busy life.
We are interested in all aspects of apical trafficking and are currently focusing our work on the function of lipid "rafts" in this complex process.
It has been known for more than a decade that sphingolipids and cholesterol together can form microdomains (commonly termed "rafts") in the exoplasmic leaflet of cell membranes. Such rafts are thought to exist as ordered membrane patches surrounded by more fluid membrane mainly composed of glycerolipids. By acting as lateral platforms for specific subsets of proteins, rafts have been proposed to function in apical membrane trafficking in epithelial cells. At the cell surface rafts sometimes appear as caveolae (small flask-shaped membrane invaginations). Here, they are believed mainly to function in endocytosis and signal transduction events, but new raft components -and functions are frequently being reported. Thus, although the raft concept originated as a narrow speciality within membrane biology, "raftology" by now has re-defined our classical view of cell membranes and is rapidly expanding into other fields of cell biology and biomedicine.