Biophysical approaches to protein-induced membrane deformations in trafficking
P. Sens, L. Johannès and P. Bassereau
Current Opinion in Cell Biology 20, 476–482 (2008)
Short review on the physical approaches of membrane deformations induced by proteins.
Abstract: Membrane traffic requires membrane deformation to generate vesicles and tubules. Strong evidence suggests that assembly of curvature-active proteins can drive such membrane shape changes. Well-documented pathways often involve protein scaffolds, in particular coats (clathrin or COP). However, membrane curvature should, in principle, be influenced by any protein binding asymmetrically on a membrane; large membrane morphological changes could result from their aggregation. In the case of Shiga toxin or viral matrix proteins, tubules and buds appear to result from the cargo-driven formation of protein–lipid nanodomains, showing that collective protein behaviour is crucial in the process. We argue here that a combination of in vitro experiments on giant unilamellar vesicles and theoretical modelling based on statistical physics is ideally suited to tackle these collective effects.