New perspectives on an ancient protein complex

Cells depend on membranes to protect themselves from the outside world. But these membranes cannot be completely closed because nutrients and other molecules must be able to pass through. To achieve this, cell membranes have many types of channels and pores. In addition, there are receivers, antennas if desired, built into the membrane that constantly monitor the outside world and signal inside the cell. Extensive collaboration between five VIB groups has led to a better understanding of the mechanisms that plants use to regulate the protein composition of their outer membrane. This discovery, published in Science Advances, strengthens our basic knowledge of how the composition of the plasma membrane can be adapted according to external stimuli, a process essential to life on earth.

The molecular architecture of TPLATE

Complex life has complex cells, also called eukaryotic cells. Unlike bacteria, for example, complex living cells have many distinct internal compartments called organelles. These organelles exchange material with each other. To do this, organelles have a few tricks. One of those things is light bulb trafficking. This means that they are using some of theirs …

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