UT researchers discover unknown mechanism of membrane fission

Research at the University of Texas, Austin have discovered a previously unknown mechanism of membrane fission that could one day change how researchers think about disease treatment at the cellular level
The research focuses on membrane fission—the process by which a cellular membrane splits into two distinct parts, facilitating important cellular functions like cell division, organelle formation, and vesicle trafficking, according to a university article.

Scientists have long held the idea that specific protein structures are required for shaping membranes and driving membrane traffic, the article states.

However, in a new paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and featured on the April 18, 2017 cover, the findings demonstrate that crowding among membrane-bound proteins provides a potent force for membrane fission, independent of protein structure.

The work was conducted in BMES member Jeanne Stachowiak's lab, an assistant professor at UT.  

“It appears that the overall abundance and size of proteins on the membrane should influence drug or pathogen entry into the cell,” said Wilton Snead, a doctoral student in Stachowiak's lab and the first author on the paper. Snead is also a BMES member. “Our findings suggest that the physical effect of protein crowding could be used as a tool to enhance drug delivery or influence the presence of receptors at the plasma membrane.”

View the full article HERE.

View the paper Membrane fission by protein crowding – Here. The authors are Wilton T. Sneada, Carl C. Haydena, Avinash K. Gadoka, Chi Zhaoa, Eileen M. Laferb, Padmini Rangamanic, and Jeanne C. Stachowiaka.