Membrane Tilt Drives Phase Separation of Adhesion Receptors

Shao Zhen Lin, Rishita Changede, Aaron J. Farrugia, Alexander D. Bershadsky, Michael P. Sheetz, Jacques Prost, Jean François Rupprecht

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Cell adhesion receptors are transmembrane proteins that bind cells to their environment. These proteins typically cluster into disk-shaped or linear structures. Here, we show that such clustering patterns spontaneously emerge when the receptor senses the membrane deformation gradient, for example, by reaching a lower-energy conformation when the membrane is tilted relative to the underlying binding substrate. Increasing the strength of the membrane gradient-sensing mechanism first yields isolated disk-shaped clusters and then long linear structures. Our theory is coherent with experimental estimates of the parameters, suggesting that a tilt-induced clustering mechanism is relevant in the context of cell adhesion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number188402
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 3 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy

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