The importance of proteins in shaping the membranes that define the perimeters of organelles is well documented. By forming cross-links, motors, or scaffolds or by inserting into membranes, proteins can harness energy to deform membranes, particularly when high degrees of curvature are necessitated-as in small membrane vesicles, tubules of the endoplasmic reticulum, the edges of endoplasmic reticulum sheets or Golgi apparatus cisternae, and membrane fusion intermediates (stalks). Here we propose that membrane lipids displaying negative curvature act in concert with membrane proteins to contribute to the alteration and maintenance of bending in biological membranes. We emphasize recent data from studies of sea urchin eggs and embryos and suggest how novel approaches can lead to future directions for investigating the roles of such lipids in vivo.
- Cell Membrane/metabolism
- Endoplasmic Reticulum/metabolism
- Membrane Lipids/metabolism
- Membrane Proteins/metabolism
- Microscopy, Confocal
- Unilamellar Liposomes/metabolism