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Tricalbin-mediated contact sites control ER curvature to maintain plasma membrane integrity

By Javier Collado, Maria Kalemanov, Antonio Martínez-Sánchez, Felix Campelo, Wolfgang Baumeister, Christopher J Stefan, Ruben Fernández-Busnadiego

Posted 15 Mar 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/578427 (published DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2019.10.018)

Membrane contact sites (MCS) between the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and the plasma membrane (PM) play fundamental roles in all eukaryotic cells. ER-PM MCS are particularly abundant in S. cerevisiae, where approximately half of the PM surface is covered by cortical ER (cER). Several proteins, including Ist2, Scs2/22 and Tcb1/2/3 are implicated in cER formation, but the specific roles of these molecules are poorly understood. Here we use cryo-electron tomography to show that ER-PM tethers are key determinants of cER morphology. In particular, Tcb proteins form peaks of extreme curvature on the cER membrane facing the PM. Semi-quantitative modeling and functional assays suggest that Tcb-mediated cER peaks facilitate the transport of lipids from the cER to the PM, necessary to maintain PM integrity under stress conditions. ER peaks were also present at other MCS, implying that membrane curvature enforcement may be a widespread mechanism to expedite lipid transport at MCS.

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