Membrane curvature and mechanisms of dynamic cell membrane remodelling


Membrane curvature is no longer seen as a passive consequence of cellular activity but an active means to create membrane domains and to organize centres for membrane trafficking. Curvature can be dynamically modulated by changes in lipid composition, the oligomerization of curvature scaffolding proteins and the reversible insertion of protein regions that act like wedges in membranes. There is an interplay between curvature-generating and curvature-sensing proteins during vesicle budding. This is seen during vesicle budding and in the formation of microenvironments. On a larger scale, membrane curvature is a prime player in growth, division and movement.

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Figure 1: Local differences in membrane curvature are hallmarks of cellular membranes.
Figure 2: Clathrin-coated vesicle budding where yolk protein is being incorporated into vesicles in oocytes.
Figure 3: Mechanisms of membrane deformation.
Figure 4: Coincidence detection.


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B. Peter provided inspiration for this review, and although he has moved on to better things, his thoughts and contribution were invaluable. He is largely responsible for Fig. 3. We also thank P. Evans and all members of the laboratory for their continuous curvature discussion. J.G. was the recipient of an MRC Predoctoral Fellowship and Karn Fund Postdoctoral Fellowship.

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Correspondence to Harvey T. McMahon.

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McMahon, H., Gallop, J. Membrane curvature and mechanisms of dynamic cell membrane remodelling. Nature 438, 590–596 (2005).

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