The patterned assembly and stepwise Vps4-mediated disassembly of composite ESCRT-III polymers drives archaeal cell division

Sci Adv. 2023 Mar 17;9(11):eade5224. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.ade5224. Epub 2023 Mar 15.


ESCRT-III family proteins form composite polymers that deform and cut membrane tubes in the context of a wide range of cell biological processes across the tree of life. In reconstituted systems, sequential changes in the composition of ESCRT-III polymers induced by the AAA-adenosine triphosphatase Vps4 have been shown to remodel membranes. However, it is not known how composite ESCRT-III polymers are organized and remodeled in space and time in a cellular context. Taking advantage of the relative simplicity of the ESCRT-III-dependent division system in Sulfolobus acidocaldarius, one of the closest experimentally tractable prokaryotic relatives of eukaryotes, we use super-resolution microscopy, electron microscopy, and computational modeling to show how CdvB/CdvB1/CdvB2 proteins form a precisely patterned composite ESCRT-III division ring, which undergoes stepwise Vps4-dependent disassembly and contracts to cut cells into two. These observations lead us to suggest sequential changes in a patterned composite polymer as a general mechanism of ESCRT-III-dependent membrane remodeling.

MeSH terms

  • Archaea* / metabolism
  • Cell Division
  • Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport* / metabolism
  • Polymers


  • Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport
  • Polymers