Proteins set vesicles in motion

A team led by Erwin Frey, Professor of Statistical and Biological Physics at LMU, and Petra Schwille from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, has managed to maintain vesicles enclosed by a lipid membrane – so-called liposomes – in constant motion on a supporting membrane. This motion is driven by the interaction of the vesicle membrane with certain protein patterns. These results were published in the journal Nature Physics on 15 May 2023.

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a, A 3D image showing liposome motion in the presence of Min protein patterns. Two 3D images were superimposed to show the motion sequence indicated by the arrow (time interval, 1 h 22 min; dimensions of the 3D image, 21.68 × 21.84 × 5.40 µm3). b, Schematic of the liposome motion driven by Min protein gradients. The MinE proteins asymmetrically accumulate at the flattened side of the liposome, and the liposome moves against the regions with MinE accumulation. c, Mechanochemical feedback loop that drives the liposome motion. Fu, M., Burkart, T., Maryshev, I. et al. Mechanochemical feedback loop drives persistent motion of liposomes. Nat. Phys. (2023).