Membrane rafting: From apical sorting to phase segregation

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleInvitedpeer-review


  • Ünal Coskun - , Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (Author)
  • Kai Simons - , Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (Author)


In this review we describe the history of the development of the raft concept for membrane sub-compartmentalization. From its early beginnings as a mechanism for apical sorting in epithelial cells the concept has evolved to a general principle for membrane organisation. After a shaky start with crude methodology based on detergent extraction the field has become increasingly sophisticated, employing a host of different methods that support the existence of dynamic raft domains in membranes. These are composed of fluctuating nanoscale assemblies of sphingolipid, cholesterol and proteins that can be stabilized to coalesce, forming platforms that function in membrane signalling and trafficking.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1685-1693
Number of pages9
JournalFEBS letters
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes

External IDs

WOS 000276717600009
Scopus 77951884081
PubMed 20036659



  • Apical transport, Lipid rafts, Membrane heterogeneity, Phase separation, Resting state