Cell and organelle shape can profoundly influence proper cellular function. In recent years, two machineries have emerged as major regulators of membrane shape: Bin-Amphiphysin-Rvs161/167 (BAR) domain-containing proteins, which induce membrane invaginations or protrusions, and nucleation promoting factors (NPFs), which activate the Arp2/3 complex and are thus responsible for the generation of branched actin networks that push on membranes. Several BAR-NPF interactions have been shown to induce various types of protrusions, such as lamellipodia or filopodia, or invaginations, including trafficking organelles such as caveolae, endosomes and clathrin-coated pits (CCPs). This review focuses on how collaboration between these two interacting machineries, which emerges as a unified mechanism of membrane remodeling, accounts for such a variety of membrane shapes.
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