Cellular Functions and Molecular Mechanisms of the ESCRT Membrane-Scission Machinery

Trends Biochem Sci. 2017 Jan;42(1):42-56. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2016.08.016. Epub 2016 Sep 23.


The endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) machinery is an assembly of protein subcomplexes (ESCRT I-III) that cooperate with the ATPase VPS4 to mediate scission of membrane necks from the inside. The ESCRT machinery has evolved as a multipurpose toolbox for mediating receptor sorting, membrane remodeling, and membrane scission, with ESCRT-III as the major membrane-remodeling component. Cellular membrane scission processes mediated by ESCRT-III include biogenesis of multivesicular endosomes, budding of enveloped viruses, cytokinetic abscission, neuron pruning, plasma membrane wound repair, nuclear pore quality control, nuclear envelope reformation, and nuclear envelope repair. We describe here the involvement of the ESCRT machinery in these processes and review current models for how ESCRT-III-containing multimeric filaments serve to mediate membrane remodeling and scission.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport / metabolism*
  • Humans


  • Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases