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Journal Article

Remodeling of membrane shape and topology by curvature elasticity and membrane tension


Lipowsky,  Reinhard       
Reinhard Lipowsky, Theorie & Bio-Systeme, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Lipowsky, R. (2022). Remodeling of membrane shape and topology by curvature elasticity and membrane tension. Advanced Biology, 6(1): 2101020. doi:10.1002/adbi.202101020.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0009-9771-D
Cellular membranes exhibit a fascinating variety of different morphologies, which are continuously remodeled by transformations of membrane shape and topology. This remodeling is essential for important biological processes (cell division, intracellular vesicle trafficking, endocytosis) and can be elucidated in a systematic and quantitative manner using synthetic membrane systems. Here, recent insights obtained from such synthetic systems are reviewed, integrating experimental observations and molecular dynamics simulations with the theory of membrane elasticity. The study starts from the polymorphism of biomembranes as observed for giant vesicles by optical microscopy and small nanovesicles in simulations. This polymorphism reflects the unusual elasticity of fluid membranes and includes the formation of membrane necks or fluid 'worm holes'. The proliferation of membrane necks generates stable multi-spherical shapes, which can form tubules and tubular junctions. Membrane necks are also essential for the remodeling of membrane topology via membrane fission and fusion. Neck fission can be induced by fine-tuning of membrane curvature, which leads to the controlled division of giant vesicles, and by adhesion-induced membrane tension as observed for small nanovesicles. Challenges for future research include the interplay of curvature elasticity and membrane tension during membrane fusion and the localization of fission and fusion processes within intramembrane domains.