A class of membrane proteins shaping the tubular endoplasmic reticulum

Gia K. Voeltz, William A. Prinz, Yoko Shibata, Julia M. Rist, Tom A. Rapoport

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

850 Scopus citations


How is the characteristic shape of a membrane bound organelle achieved? We have used an in vitro system to address the mechanism by which the tubular network of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is generated and maintained. Based on the inhibitory effect of sulfhydryl reagents and antibodies, network formation in vitro requires the integral membrane protein Rtn4a/NogoA, a member of the ubiquitous reticulon family. Both in yeast and mammalian cells, the reticulons are largely restricted to the tubular ER and are excluded from the continuous sheets of the nuclear envelope and peripheral ER. Upon overexpression, the reticulons form tubular membrane structures. The reticulons interact with DP1/Yop1p, a conserved integral membrane protein that also localizes to the tubular ER. These proteins share an unusual hairpin topology in the membrane. The simultaneous absence of the reticulons and Yop1p in S. cerevisiae results in disrupted tubular ER. We propose that these "morphogenic" proteins partition into and stabilize highly curved ER membrane tubules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)573-586
Number of pages14
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 10 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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