Cellular Blebs and Membrane Invaginations Are Coupled through Membrane Tension Buffering

I. Lavi , M. Goudarzi , E. Raz , N.S. Gov , R. Voituriez , P. Sens

Bibtex , URL
Biophys. J., 117, 8
Published 15 Oct. 2019
DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2019.08.002
ISSN: 0006-3495


Bleb-type cellular protrusions play key roles in a range of biological processes. It was recently found that bleb growth is facilitated by a local supply of membrane from tubular invaginations, but the interplay between the expanding bleb and the membrane tubes remains poorly understood. On the one hand, the membrane area stored in tubes may serve as a reservoir for bleb expansion. On the other hand, the sequestering of excess membrane in stabilized invaginations may effectively increase the cell membrane tension, which suppresses spontaneous protrusions. Here, we investigate this duality through physical modeling and in vivo experiments. In agreement with observations, our model describes the transition into a tube-flattening mode of bleb expansion while also predicting that the blebbing rate is impaired by elevating the concentration of the curved membrane proteins that form the tubes. We show both theoretically and experimentally that the stabilizing effect of tubes could be counterbalanced by the cortical myosin contractility. Our results largely suggest that proteins able to induce membrane tubulation, such as those containing N-BAR domains, can buffer the effective membrane tension-a master regulator of all cell deformations.