Membranes and Cellular Functions


Patricia Bassereau Team Leader Tel:


Lipid membranes exhibit non-trivial properties especially at length scales larger than molecular sizes. A purely molecular description of membranes is not sufficient to accomplish a quantitative understanding of their function and require meso-scale concepts coming from soft matter and statistical physics. In addition, cell membranes involve a wide number of membrane-interacting proteins that can alter the overall physical description of the membrane itself. Our goal is to contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of biological membranes and their role in living systems.


Model bio-membranes and cell membranes

To understand the role of lipid membranes and associated proteins involved in essential cellular functions such as intracellular trafficking, endo/exocytosis, cell infection, transmembrane transport of ions and protein diffusion, our group has developed multidisciplinary approaches that are largely based on synthetic biology, biomimetic systems and quantitative physical measurements. The team has successfully developed several physical approaches for the micromanipulation of giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) and cells, combining micropipette aspiration and optical tweezers with confocal microscopy. These technological approaches are particularly powerful for the study of membrane nanotube extension, both from GUVs and cells, and allow one to control the membrane tension and measure associated forces. Our research is motivated by close collaborations with biologists and theoreticians, both within and outside Institut Curie, and have involved such projects as the activity of transmembrane proteins (e.g., ion pumps, adhesion proteins, voltage-gated ion channels), membrane fission by ESCRT complexes, membrane deformation by toxins and viral proteins, the role of membrane curvature in the mobility and sorting of lipids and proteins (including BAR-domain proteins and dynamin), and how cell membrane mechanics contribute to cellular force generation that underlies the formation and dynamics of filopodia.

Key publications

Year of publication 2016

Mijo Simunovic, Emma Evergren, Ivan Golushko, Coline Prévost, Henri-François Renard, Ludger Johannes, Harvey T McMahon, Vladimir Lorman, Gregory A Voth, Patricia Bassereau (2016 Oct 4)

How curvature-generating proteins build scaffolds on membrane nanotubes.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America : 113 : DOI : 10.1073/pnas.1606943113

Year of publication 2015

Coline Prévost, Hongxia Zhao, John Manzi, Emmanuel Lemichez, Pekka Lappalainen, Andrew Callan-Jones, Patricia Bassereau (2015 Feb 26)

IRSp53 senses negative membrane curvature and phase separates along membrane tubules.

Nature communications : 8529 : DOI : 10.1038/ncomms9529
Matthias Garten, Sophie Aimon, Patricia Bassereau, Gilman E S Toombes (2015 Feb 5)

Reconstitution of a transmembrane protein, the voltage-gated ion channel, KvAP, into giant unilamellar vesicles for microscopy and patch clamp studies.

Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE : 52281 : DOI : 10.3791/52281
Henri-François Renard, Mijo Simunovic, Joël Lemière, Emmanuel Boucrot, Maria Daniela Garcia-Castillo, Senthil Arumugam, Valérie Chambon, Christophe Lamaze, Christian Wunder, Anne K Kenworthy, Anne A Schmidt, Harvey T McMahon, Cécile Sykes, Patricia Bassereau, Ludger Johannes (2015 Jan 22)

Endophilin-A2 functions in membrane scission in clathrin-independent endocytosis.

Nature : 493-6 : DOI : 10.1038/nature14064

Year of publication 2014

Laura Picas, Julien Viaud, Kristine Schauer, Stefano Vanni, Karim Hnia, Vincent Fraisier, Aurélien Roux, Patricia Bassereau, Frédérique Gaits-Iacovoni, Bernard Payrastre, Jocelyn Laporte, Jean-Baptiste Manneville, Bruno Goud (2014 May 19)

BIN1/M-Amphiphysin2 induces clustering of phosphoinositides to recruit its downstream partner dynamin.

Nature communications : 5647 : DOI : 10.1038/ncomms6647
Ayako Yamada, Alexandre Mamane, Jonathan Lee-Tin-Wah, Aurélie Di Cicco, Coline Prévost, Daniel Lévy, Jean-François Joanny, Evelyne Coudrier, Patricia Bassereau (2014 Apr 7)

Catch-bond behaviour facilitates membrane tubulation by non-processive myosin 1b.

Nature communications : 3624 : DOI : 10.1038/ncomms4624
All publications