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PLoS Comput Biol. 2012;8(10):e1002736. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002736. Epub 2012 Oct 18.

Membrane-elasticity model of Coatless vesicle budding induced by ESCRT complexes.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Chemical Physics, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Abstract

The formation of vesicles is essential for many biological processes, in particular for the trafficking of membrane proteins within cells. The Endosomal Sorting Complex Required for Transport (ESCRT) directs membrane budding away from the cytosol. Unlike other vesicle formation pathways, the ESCRT-mediated budding occurs without a protein coat. Here, we propose a minimal model of ESCRT-induced vesicle budding. Our model is based on recent experimental observations from direct fluorescence microscopy imaging that show ESCRT proteins colocalized only in the neck region of membrane buds. The model, cast in the framework of membrane elasticity theory, reproduces the experimentally observed vesicle morphologies with physically meaningful parameters. In this parameter range, the minimum energy configurations of the membrane are coatless buds with ESCRTs localized in the bud neck, consistent with experiment. The minimum energy configurations agree with those seen in the fluorescence images, with respect to both bud shapes and ESCRT protein localization. On the basis of our model, we identify distinct mechanistic pathways for the ESCRT-mediated budding process. The bud size is determined by membrane material parameters, explaining the narrow yet different bud size distributions in vitro and in vivo. Our membrane elasticity model thus sheds light on the energetics and possible mechanisms of ESCRT-induced membrane budding.

PMID:
23093927
PMCID:
PMC3475702
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002736
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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