Plasma membrane fluidity: An environment thermal detector in plants

Dora L. Cano-Ramirez, Laura Carmona-Salazar, Francisco Morales-Cedillo, Jorge Ramírez-Salcedo, Edgar B. Cahoon, Marina Gavilanes-Ruíz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The lipid matrix in cell membranes is a dynamic, bidimensional array of amphipathic molecules exhibiting mesomorphism, which contributes to the membrane fluidity changes in response to temperature fluctuation. As sessile organisms, plants must rapidly and accurately respond to environmental thermal variations. However, mechanisms underlying temperature perception in plants are poorly understood. We studied the thermal plasticity of membrane fluidity using three fluorescent probes across a temperature range of −5 to 41 C in isolated microsomal fraction (MF), vacuolar membrane (VM), and plasma membrane (PM) vesicles from Arabidopsis plants. Results showed that PM were highly fluid and exhibited more phase transitions and hysteresis, while VM and MF lacked such attributes. These findings suggest that PM is an important cell hub with the capacity to rapidly undergo fluidity modifications in response to small changes of temperatures in ranges spanning those experienced in natural habitats. PM fluidity behaves as an ideal temperature detector: it is always present, covers the whole cell, responds quickly and with sensitivity to temperature variations, functions with a cell free-energy cost, and it is physically connected with potential thermal signal transducers to elicit a cell response. It is an optimal alternative for temperature detection selected for the plant kingdom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2778
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Lipids
  • Membrane fluidity
  • Membrane lipids
  • Plant membranes
  • Plasma membrane
  • Temperature perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Plasma membrane fluidity: An environment thermal detector in plants'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this