Organelle morphogenesis by active membrane remodeling

Soft Matter. 2015 Mar 28;11(12):2387-93. doi: 10.1039/c4sm02311k.


Intracellular organelles are subject to a steady flux of lipids and proteins through active, energy consuming transport processes. Active fission and fusion are promoted by GTPases, e.g., Arf-Coatamer and the Rab-Snare complexes, which both sense and generate local membrane curvature. Here we investigate, through Dynamical Triangulation Monte Carlo simulations, the role that these active processes play in determining the morphology and composition segregation in closed membranes. We find that the steady state shapes obtained as a result of such active processes, bear a striking resemblance to the ramified morphologies of organelles in vivo, pointing to the relevance of nonequilibrium fission-fusion in organelle morphogenesis.

MeSH terms

  • Intracellular Membranes / chemistry*
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism
  • Membrane Fusion
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Statistical
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Organelles / chemistry*
  • Organelles / metabolism