PerspectiveCell Biology

Membrane Bending Tug of War

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Science  16 Mar 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6074, pp. 1308-1309
DOI: 10.1126/science.1220221

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The surfaces of biological membranes are very crowded places (1, 2). “Steric pressure” created by interactions between membrane proteins can influence important aspects of membrane behavior, including the lateral diffusion of membrane proteins (3), the architecture and function of cell adhesion proteins (4), and cargo selection in clathrin-mediated endocytosis (5, 6). On page 1359 of this issue, Čopič et al. (7) propose that surface-crowding effects can also influence the bending of membranes into highly curved structures such as transport vesicles.