A Tether Is a Tether Is a Tether: Tethering at Membrane Contact Sites

Dev Cell. 2016 Nov 21;39(4):395-409. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2016.10.022.


Membrane contact sites enable interorganelle communication by positioning organelles in close proximity using molecular "tethers." With a growing understanding of the importance of contact sites, the hunt for new contact sites and their tethers is in full swing. Determining just what is a tether has proven challenging. Here, we aim to delineate guidelines that define the prerequisites for categorizing a protein as a tether. Setting this gold standard now, while groups from different disciplines are beginning to explore membrane contact sites, will enable efficient cooperation in the growing field and help to realize a great collaborative opportunity to boost its development.

Keywords: E-Syt; ERMES; NVJ; OSBP; VAP; contact site; lipid transfer protein; membrane fusion; molecular tether; vCLAMP.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Membrane Fusion
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Protein Interaction Mapping
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Synthetic Biology