the biology of membrane fission
Cell membranes are spontaneously formed by the self-assembly of lipids into a 5-nm thin bilayer sheet. They have unique mechanical properties. Foremost among them is their ability to resist rupture. This property lies at the heart of evolution choosing lipids as the material to contain life within membrane-bound compartments. But cells have also evolved mechanisms to compartmentalize the cytoplasm into vesicles and organelles. Formation of vesicles and the division of organelles requires active bending and fission of the membrane, which are processes that are managed by specialized protein machines. Our research focuses on identifying such protein machines and understanding where and how they function in cells.