Chirality-induced budding: a raft-mediated mechanism for endocytosis and morphology of caveolae? Academic Article uri icon


  • The formation of transport carriers (spherical vesicles and tubules) involves membrane budding, growth, and ultimately fission. We propose a mechanism of membrane budding, wherein the tilt and chirality of constituent molecules, confined to a patch of area A, induces buds of approximately 50-100 nm that are comparable to vesicles involved in endocytosis. Because such chiral and tilted lipid molecules are likely to exist in "rafts", we suggest the involvement of this mechanism in generating membrane buds in the clathrin and dynamin-independent, raft-component mediated endocytosis of glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored proteins. We argue that caveolae, permanent cell surface structures with characteristic morphology and enriched in raft constituents, are also likely to be formed by this mechanism. Thus, molecular chirality and tilt, and its expression over large spatial scales may be a common organizing principle in membrane budding of transport carriers.

publication date

  • May 1, 2007