Professor Veatch’s research is aimed at understanding how the physical properties of lipid and lipid mixtures influence cellular functions that occur at the plasma membrane. Lipid bilayer membranes containing cholesterol can support two coexisting liquid phases, called liquid-ordered and liquid-disordered. There is significant evidence that the presence of this phase transition impacts the organization and function of plasma membrane proteins because the cell plasma membrane is poised in the vicinity of a miscibility critical point. We are currently exploring the physical basis of functional lateral heterogeneity in living cell membranes using a variety of experimental and theoretical approaches, including super-resolution fluorescence localization microscopy, fluorescence imaging of fluctuations in isolated plasma membrane vesicles, and Monte Carlo modeling of basic signaling processes.
Critical Fluctuations in Plasma Membrane Vesicles, (S. L. Veatch, P. Cicuta, P. Sengupta, A. Honerkamp-Smith, D. Holowka, B. Baird), ACS Chem. Bio. 3, 287-293 (2008).
Critical Fluctuations in Domain Forming Lipid Mixtures, (S. L. Veatch, O. Soubias, S. L. Keller, and K. Gawrisch), Proc Nat Acad Sci USA 104 17650-17655 (2007).
Closed-loop Miscibility Gap and Quantitative Tie-lines in Ternary Membranes Containing Diphytanoyl PC, (S. L. Veatch, K. Gawrisch, and S. L. Keller), Biophys J. 90 (12) 4428-36 (2006).
Seeing Spots: Complex Phase Behavior in Simple Membrane, (S. L. Veatch and S. L. Keller), Biophys. Acta. 1746 172-85 (2005).