Bending membranes

Nat Cell Biol. 2012 Sep;14(9):906-8. doi: 10.1038/ncb2570.


It is widely assumed that peripheral membrane proteins induce intracellular membrane curvature by the asymmetric insertion of a protein segment into the lipid bilayer, or by imposing shape by adhesion of a curved protein domain to the membrane surface. Two papers now provide convincing evidence challenging these views. The first shows that specific assembly of a clathrin protein scaffold, coupled to the membrane, seems to be the most prevalent mechanism for bending a lipid bilayer in a cell. The second reports that membrane crowding, driven by protein-protein interactions, can also drive membrane bending, even in the absence of any protein insertion into the bilayer.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Clathrin / metabolism*
  • Clathrin-Coated Vesicles / metabolism*
  • Coated Vesicles / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*


  • Clathrin
  • Membrane Proteins