Mapping and Modeling the Nanomechanics of Bare and Protein-Coated Lipid Nanotubes


N° DOI: 10.011031

The authors Guillaume LAMOUR, Antoine ALLARD, Juan PELTA, Sid LABDI, Martin LENZ and Clément CAMPILLO , members of Respore, published an article called “Cartography and modelling of the nanomechanics of protein-coated naked lipid nanotubes” in the Health section, Welfare, Biotechnology and Industry.


Lipid bicouches are the membranes that delineate living cells and intracellular compartments. They constantly change shape, especially under the effect of the cytoskeleton, the dynamic network of biopolymers that controls the cell’s architecture. In particular, biological membranes form cylinders, called nanotubes, of 20 to 200 nm diameter. In vivo, these nanotubes are split by specialized proteins to form vesicles to transport molecules through the cell. The physical mechanisms by which nanotubes are formed and disassembled are not clear because there is no experimental technique giving access to their morphology and mechanics at the nanoscale. We are lifting this lock by developing a new platform for the study of nanotubes by atomic force microscopy (AFM). We study locally the mechanics and topography of these highly deformable biological nano-objects by identifying their surface with the tip of an AFM. We record at each point a force-indentation curve, allowing us to obtain simultaneously the morphology of the tubes as well as the tension and rigidity of curvature of their membrane. We apply this approach to nanotubes covered with a network of actin, a major cytoskeletal protein, and highlight the change in morphology and stiffness induced by actin. Our approach will make it possible to study the remodeling of nanotubes by other proteins and thus to dissect the physical mechanisms underlying the fundamental processes of intracellular traffic.


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