- Royal Society of Chemistry
Micrometric membrane confinements and macromolecular crowding of cytoplasm are key factors that regulate molecular diffusion in live cells. Previous studies have shown that macromolecular crowding delays molecular diffusion. However, the effect of cell-size confinement on diffusion in the crowding environment is yet to be elucidated. Using fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS), we analyzed protein diffusion in microdroplets containing polymer solution covered with lipid membranes that mimic cells. As a result, we found that a synergistic condition of crowding and micrometric confinement results in accelerated protein diffusion on a sub-millisecond time scale. This acceleration rate strongly depended on the size of the confined space and the degree of crowding. These findings indicate that cell-size confinement supports protein diffusion in highly crowded cytoplasm.
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