Modeling membrane shaping by proteins: focus on EHD2 and N-BAR domains

FEBS Lett. 2010 May 3;584(9):1830-9. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2009.10.023. Epub 2009 Oct 16.


Cellular membranes are highly dynamic, undergoing both persistent and dynamic shape changes driven by specialized proteins. The observed membrane shaping can be simple deformations of existing shapes or membrane remodeling involving fission or fusion. Here we describe several mechanistic principles by which membrane shaping proteins act. We especially consider models for membrane bending and fission by EHD2 proteins and membrane bending by N-BAR domains. There are major challenges ahead to understand the general principles by which diverse membrane bending proteins act and to understand how some proteins appear to span multiple modes of action from driving curvature to inducing membrane remodeling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / chemistry*
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Carrier Proteins / physiology
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / physiology*
  • Cellular Structures / chemistry
  • Cellular Structures / metabolism
  • Computer Simulation
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism / physiology
  • Membrane Fluidity / physiology*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary / physiology


  • Carrier Proteins
  • EHD2 protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins