Formation of membrane ridges and scallops by the F-BAR protein Nervous Wreck

Mol Biol Cell. 2013 Aug;24(15):2406-18. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E13-05-0271. Epub 2013 Jun 12.


Eukaryotic cells are defined by extensive intracellular compartmentalization, which requires dynamic membrane remodeling. FER/Cip4 homology-Bin/amphiphysin/Rvs (F-BAR) domain family proteins form crescent-shaped dimers, which can bend membranes into buds and tubules of defined geometry and lipid composition. However, these proteins exhibit an unexplained wide diversity of membrane-deforming activities in vitro and functions in vivo. We find that the F-BAR domain of the neuronal protein Nervous Wreck (Nwk) has a novel higher-order structure and membrane-deforming activity that distinguishes it from previously described F-BAR proteins. The Nwk F-BAR domain assembles into zigzags, creating ridges and periodic scallops on membranes in vitro. This activity depends on structural determinants at the tips of the F-BAR dimer and on electrostatic interactions of the membrane with the F-BAR concave surface. In cells, Nwk-induced scallops can be extended by cytoskeletal forces to produce protrusions at the plasma membrane. Our results define a new F-BAR membrane-deforming activity and illustrate a molecular mechanism by which positively curved F-BAR domains can produce a variety of membrane curvatures. These findings expand the repertoire of F-BAR domain mediated membrane deformation and suggest that unique modes of higher-order assembly can define how these proteins sculpt the membrane.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane Structures / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane Structures / ultrastructure
  • Computer Simulation
  • Drosophila Proteins / chemistry
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Humans
  • Liposomes / chemistry
  • Models, Molecular
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / chemistry
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology*
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Liposomes
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • nwk protein, Drosophila