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Bending Membranes

Tom Kirchhausen

Nat Cell Biol (2012), Volume: 14, Issue: 9, Pages: 906-8
It is widely assumed that peripheral membrane proteins induce intracellular membrane curvature by the asymmetric insertion of a protein segment into the lipid bilayer, or by imposing shape by adhesion of a curved protein domain to the membrane surface. Two papers now provide convincing evidence challenging these views. The first shows that specific assembly of a clathrin protein scaffold, coupled to the membrane, seems to be the most prevalent mechanism for bending a lipid bilayer in a cell. The second reports that membrane crowding, driven by protein-protein interactions, can also drive membrane bending, even in the absence of any protein insertion into the bilayer.
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