Septins are cytoskeletal filaments that assemble at the inner face of the plasma membrane. They are localized at constriction sites and impact membrane remodeling. We report in vitro tools to examine how yeast septins behave on curved and deformable membranes. Septins reshape the membranes of Giant Unilamellar Vesicles with the formation of periodic spikes, while flattening smaller vesicles. We show that membrane deformations are associated to preferential arrangement of septin filaments on specific curvatures. When binding to bilayers supported on custom-designed periodic wavy patterns displaying positive and negative micrometric radii of curvatures, septin filaments remain straight and perpendicular to the curvature of the convex parts, while bending negatively to follow concave geometries. Based on these results, we propose a theoretical model that describes the deformations and micrometric curvature sensitivity observed in vitro. The model captures the reorganizations of septin filaments throughout cytokinesis in vivo, providing mechanistic insights into cell division.
- biological physics
- structural biology