Friction Mediates Scission of Tubular Membranes Scaffolded by BAR Proteins

Mijo Simunovic, Jean Baptiste Manneville, Henri François Renard, Emma Evergren, Krishnan Raghunathan, Dhiraj Bhatia, Anne K. Kenworthy, Gregory A. Voth, Jacques Prost, Harvey T. McMahon, Ludger Johannes, Patricia Bassereau, Andrew Callan-Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Membrane scission is essential for intracellular trafficking. While BAR domain proteins such as endophilin have been reported in dynamin-independent scission of tubular membrane necks, the cutting mechanism has yet to be deciphered. Here, we combine a theoretical model, in vitro, and in vivo experiments revealing how protein scaffolds may cut tubular membranes. We demonstrate that the protein scaffold bound to the underlying tube creates a frictional barrier for lipid diffusion; tube elongation thus builds local membrane tension until the membrane undergoes scission through lysis. We call this mechanism friction-driven scission (FDS). In cells, motors pull tubes, particularly during endocytosis. Through reconstitution, we show that motors not only can pull out and extend protein-scaffolded tubes but also can cut them by FDS. FDS is generic, operating even in the absence of amphipathic helices in the BAR domain, and could in principle apply to any high-friction protein and membrane assembly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-184.e11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • BAR domain
  • diffusion barrier
  • endocytosis
  • endophilin
  • friction-driven scission
  • in vitro reconstitution
  • membrane scission
  • membrane tube
  • molecular motors
  • scaffold
  • Acyltransferases/chemistry
  • Humans
  • Rats
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Endocytosis
  • Animals
  • Membrane Proteins/chemistry
  • Friction
  • Protein Domains


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