Giant worm-shaped ESCRT scaffolds surround actin-independent integrin clusters

J Cell Biol. 2023 Jul 3;222(7):e202205130. doi: 10.1083/jcb.202205130. Epub 2023 May 18.


Endosomal Sorting Complex Required for Transport (ESCRT) proteins can be transiently recruited to the plasma membrane for membrane repair and formation of extracellular vesicles. Here, we discovered micrometer-sized worm-shaped ESCRT structures that stably persist for multiple hours at the plasma membrane of macrophages, dendritic cells, and fibroblasts. These structures surround clusters of integrins and known cargoes of extracellular vesicles. The ESCRT structures are tightly connected to the cellular support and are left behind by the cells together with surrounding patches of membrane. The phospholipid composition is altered at the position of the ESCRT structures, and the actin cytoskeleton is locally degraded, which are hallmarks of membrane damage and extracellular vesicle formation. Disruption of actin polymerization increased the formation of the ESCRT structures and cell adhesion. The ESCRT structures were also present at plasma membrane contact sites with membrane-disrupting silica crystals. We propose that the ESCRT proteins are recruited to adhesion-induced membrane tears to induce extracellular shedding of the damaged membrane.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins* / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane
  • Dendritic Cells
  • Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport* / genetics
  • Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport* / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts
  • Humans
  • Integrins* / genetics
  • Integrins* / metabolism
  • Macrophages
  • Phospholipids / chemistry
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Transport


  • Actins
  • Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport
  • Integrins
  • Phospholipids