Dealing with damage: plasma membrane repair mechanisms

Biochimie. 2014 Dec;107 Pt A:66-72. doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2014.08.008. Epub 2014 Aug 27.


Eukaryotic cells have developed repair mechanisms, which allow them to reseal their membrane in order to prevent the efflux of cytoplasmic constituents and the uncontrolled influx of calcium. After injury, the Ca(2+)-concentration gradient fulfils a dual function: it provides guidance cues for the repair machinery and directly activates the molecules, which have a repair function. Depending on the nature of injury, the morphology of the cell and the severity of injury, the membrane resealing can be effected by lysosomal exocytosis, microvesicle shedding or a combination of both. Likewise, exocytosis is often followed by the endocytic uptake of lesions. Additionally, since plasmalemmal resealing must be attempted, even after extensive injury in order to prevent cell lysis, the restoration of membrane integrity can be achieved by ceramide-driven invagination of the lipid bilayer, during which the cell is prepared for apoptotic disposal. Plasmalemmal injury can be contained by a surfeit of plasma membrane, which serves as a trap for toxic substances: either passively by an abundance of cellular protrusions, or actively by membrane blebbing.

Keywords: Annexins; Blebbing; Calcium; Microvesicle; P2X7R.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Cell-Derived Microparticles / metabolism
  • Endocytosis
  • Exocytosis*
  • Humans
  • Lipid Bilayers / metabolism
  • Lysosomes / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological


  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Calcium