The cell cortex plays a crucial role in cell mechanics, signaling, and development. However, little is known about the influence of the cortical meshwork on the spatial distribution of cytoplasmic biomolecules. Here, we describe a fluorescence microscopy method with the capacity to infer the intracellular distribution of labeled biomolecules with subresolution accuracy. Unexpectedly, we find that RNA binding proteins are partially excluded from the cytoplasmic volume adjacent to the plasma membrane that corresponds to the actin cortex. Complementary diffusion measurements of RNA-protein complexes suggest that a rudimentary model based on excluded volume interactions can explain this partitioning effect. Our results suggest the actin cortex meshwork may play a role in regulating the biomolecular content of the volume immediately adjacent to the plasma membrane.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Y. Chen for help with logistics and experiment planning This work was supported by NIH grants GM064589, AI150468, and GM098550. I.A. was supported by NIH T32 AI083196 and NIH T90 DE 022732.
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