Glycocalyx Curving the Membrane: Forces Emerging from the Cell Exterior


Posted: 2021-10-06 19:00:00
Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol . 2021 Oct 6;37:257-283. doi: 10.1146/annurev-cellbio-120219-054401. Affiliations Expand Affiliations 1 Robert Frederick Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA; email: jck267@cornell.edu, mjp31@cornell.edu. 2 Field of Biomedical Engineering and Field of Biophysics, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA. 3 Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA. Item in Clipboard Joe Chin-Hun Kuo et al. Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2021. Show details Display options Display options Format Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol . 2021 Oct 6;37:257-283. doi: 10.1146/annurev-cellbio-120219-054401. Affiliations 1 Robert Frederick Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA; email: jck267@cornell.edu, mjp31@cornell.edu. 2 Field of Biomedical Engineering and Field of Biophysics, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA. 3 Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA. Item in Clipboard CiteDisplay options Display options Format Abstract Morphological transitions are typically attributed to the actions of proteins and lipids. Largely overlooked in membrane shape regulation is the glycocalyx, a pericellular membrane coat that resides on all cells in the human body. Comprised of complex sugar polymers known as glycans as well as glycosylated lipids and proteins, the glycocalyx is ideally positioned to impart forces on the plasma membrane. Large, unstructured polysaccharides and glycoproteins in the glycocalyx can generate crowding pressures strong enough to induce membrane curvature. Stress may also originate from glycan chains that convey curvature preference on asymmetrically distributed lipids, which are exploited by binding factors and infectious agents to induce morphological changes. Through such forces, the glycocalyx can have profound effects on the biogenesis of functional cell surface structures as well as the secretion of extracellular vesicles. In this review, we discuss recent evidence and examples of these mechanisms in normal health and disease. Keywords: cancer; cell shape; glycocalyx; membrane morphology; microvesicle; mucin.

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