04:59pm Thursday 09 April 2020

MDC and MHH Researchers Show How Dynamin Mediates Membrane Constriction and Scission – A Vital Process

Professor Oliver Daumke and Dr. Katja Fälber

Professor Oliver Daumke and Dr. Katja Fälber (Photo: private)

The researchers’ study represents an important contribution to the development of new therapeutic approaches.

To transmit signals, nerve cells release neurotransmitters that are packed in vesicles. These vesicles are formed through membrane invaginations of the cell wall which are constricted and severed by dynamin. First, a chain of dynamin molecules wraps around the neck of the budding vesicle in a spiral. In a second energy-dependent step, the dynamin spiral is constricted, and the vesicle is released into the cell.

The researchers elucidated the 3-dimensional structure of the basic component of the spiral. It consists of four dynamin molecules, called a dynamin tetramer. “For the first time we could determine how the dynamin tetramers assemble into a spiral,” said Dr. Katja Fälber from the Crystallography Department of the MDC. “The structure also explains why this process only occurs on membranes: Only there do rearrangements in the dynamin tetramer take place that release the contacts for spiral formation,” said Professor Oliver Daumke.

**Crystal structure of the dynamin tetramer

Thomas F. Reubold1*, Katja Faelber2*, Nuria Plattner3§, York Posor4§, Katharina Branz4, Ute Curth1,5, Jeanette Schlegel2, Roopsee Anand1, Dietmar J. Manstein1,5, Frank Noé3, Volker Haucke4,6, Oliver Daumke2,6 & Susanne Eschenburg1

1Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Institut für Biophysikalische Chemie, Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1, 30625 Hannover, Germany

2Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin, Kristallographie, Robert-Rössle-Straße 10, 13125 Berlin, Germany

3Freie Universität Berlin, Institut für Mathematik, Arnimallee 6, 14195 Berlin, Germany

4Leibniz-Institut für Molekulare Pharmakologie, Robert-Rössle-Straße 10, 13125 Berlin, Germany

5Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Forschungseinrichtung Strukturanalyse, Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1, 30625 Hannover, Germany

6Freie Universität Berlin, Institut für Chemie und Biochemie, Takustraße 6, 14195 Berlin, Germany

* These authors contributed equally to this work.


Barbara Bachtler

Press Department

Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch

in the Helmholtz Association

Robert-Rössle-Straße 10
13125 Berlin


Phone: +49 (0) 30 94 06 – 38 96
Fax:  +49 (0) 30 94 06 – 38 33

e-mail: [email protected]


Further information:

Professor Oliver Daumke, [email protected], Phone: +49 (0)30 94 06 – 3425

Dr. Susanne Eschenburg, Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Phone: +49 (0)511 532 – 8655, [email protected]


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