The 16th International Membrane Research Forum

Welcome to

OIST minisymposium - The 16th International Membrane Research Forum

We would like to welcome everybody who is participating in this membrane research forum, particularly the speakers from abroad who have made long trips to come to Okinawa. It is our great pleasure to report that many scientists expressed considerable interest in this forum, and volunteered to present their research results.

Singer and Nicolson’s fluid mosaic model, which formed our basic concept for biological membranes, is still believed to represent the basic structure of the plasma membranes of all cells existing on earth. Such universality is comparable to that of the double helical structure of DNA, although it is not recognized as widely as it should be. This universality suggests to us that various functions and structures of biological membranes could essentially be understood based on general fundamental mechanisms, consisting of a set of simple principles for the membrane organization and dynamics, although for each particular function and structure, a variety of specialized proteins and lipids are involved for the functional specificity. Therefore, through the studies of the mechanisms for various specialized functions, we hope to extract organizing principles of the cellular membranes and to understand the general cellular strategies that enable various membrane functions, which could be called the “membrane mechanisms”.
This year’s forum, the 16th meeting in this series, features “two-dimensional and three-dimensional meso-scale functional molecular complexes and domains in cellular membranes.” Here, the meso-scale roughly represents the space scale between 3 and 300 nm. It is an interesting scale where non-living molecules turn into living cells through the formation of key molecular complexes and membrane domains that can perform quite complex regulated functions in the processes including signal transduction, molecular transport and trafficking, organelle formation, and formation of specialized membrane domains such as synapses, clathrin-coated pits, membrane contact sites, and focal adhesion.
In the research fields of cellular membranes, the two-dimensional structures and dynamics have been emphasized. However, the three-dimensional structures and molecular interactions are often keys to understand the membrane functions. Therefore, in this year’s meeting, we hope to stress the three-dimensional structures and interactions in/on cellular membranes, including the interactions between the membrane and cytoskeletal structures.
We hope that you will enjoy this meeting and mingle with other scientists having very different backgrounds.

Organizers for the 16th International Membrane Research Forum Meeting 

Executive Committee for the Membrane Research Forum
 Standing Committee Members: Jiro Usukura (Nagoya), Masahiro Sokabe (Nagoya),
                                                    and Aki Kusumi (Chair, OIST)
OIST Organizers
 Keiko Kono and Aki Kusumi