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Reversible Membrane Pearling in Live Cells upon Destruction of the Actin Cortex

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Ecke,  Mary
Gerisch, Günther / Cell Dynamics, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Jasnin,  Marion
Baumeister, Wolfgang / Molecular Structural Biology, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Gerisch,  Günther
Gerisch, Günther / Cell Dynamics, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Heinrich, D., Ecke, M., Jasnin, M., Engel, U., & Gerisch, G. (2014). Reversible Membrane Pearling in Live Cells upon Destruction of the Actin Cortex. BIOPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 106(5), 1079-1091. doi:10.1016/j.bpj.2013.12.054.


Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0019-0CF9-5
Abstract
Membrane pearling in live cells is observed when the plasma membrane is depleted of its support, the cortical actin network. Upon efficient depolynnerization of actin, pearls of variable size are formed, which are connected by nanotubes of similar to 40 nm diameter. We show that formation of the membrane tubes and their transition into chains of pearls do not require external tension, and that they neither depend on microtubule-based molecular motors nor pressure generated by myosin-II. Pearling thus differs from blebbing. The pearling state is stable as long as actin is prevented from polymerizing. When polymerization is restored, the pearls are retracted into the cell, indicating continuity of the membrane. Our data suggest that the alternation of pearls and strings is an energetically favored state of the unsupported plasma membrane, and that one of the functions of the actin cortex is to prevent the membrane from spontaneously assuming this configuration.