Transmembrane protein sorting driven by membrane curvature

H. Strahl, S. Ronneau, B. Solana González, D. Klutsch, C. Schaffner-Barbero, L. W. Hamoen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The intricate structure of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells depends on the ability to target proteins to specific cellular locations. In most cases, we have a poor understanding of the underlying mechanisms. A typical example is the assembly of bacterial chemoreceptors at cell poles. Here we show that the classical chemoreceptor TlpA of Bacillus subtilis does not localize according to the consensus stochastic nucleation mechanism but accumulates at strongly curved membrane areas generated during cell division. This preference was confirmed by accumulation at non-septal curved membranes. Localization appears to be an intrinsic property of the protein complex and does not rely on chemoreceptor clustering, as was previously shown for Escherichia coli. By constructing specific amino-acid substitutions, we demonstrate that the preference for strongly curved membranes arises from the curved shape of chemoreceptor trimer of dimers. These findings demonstrate that the intrinsic shape of transmembrane proteins can determine their cellular localization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8728
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2015


Cite this

Strahl, H., Ronneau, S., González, B. S., Klutsch, D., Schaffner-Barbero, C., & Hamoen, L. W. (2015). Transmembrane protein sorting driven by membrane curvature. Nature Communications, 6, [8728].