The ESCRT complexes

Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. 2010 Dec;45(6):463-87. doi: 10.3109/10409238.2010.502516. Epub 2010 Jul 23.


The ESCRT machinery consists of the peripheral membrane protein complexes ESCRT-0, -I, -II, -III, and Vps4-Vta1, and the ALIX homodimer. The ESCRT system is required for degradation of unneeded or dangerous plasma membrane proteins; biogenesis of the lysosome and the yeast vacuole; the budding of most membrane enveloped viruses; the membrane abscission step in cytokinesis; macroautophagy; and several other processes. From their initial discovery in 2001-2002, the literature on ESCRTs has grown exponentially. This review will describe the structure and function of the six complexes noted above and summarize current knowledge of their mechanistic roles in cellular pathways and in disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autophagy
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Cytokinesis / physiology
  • Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport / metabolism*
  • Endosomes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lysosomes / physiology*
  • Nervous System Diseases / metabolism
  • Ubiquitin / metabolism
  • Vacuoles / physiology*
  • Virus Release
  • Yeasts


  • Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport
  • Ubiquitin