Membrane repair: Mechanisms and pathophysiology

Sandra T. Cooper, Paul L. McNeil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

216 Scopus citations


Eukaryotic cells have been confronted throughout their evolution with potentially lethal plasma membrane injuries, including those caused by osmotic stress, by infection from bacterial toxins and parasites, and by mechanical and ischemic stress. The wounded cell can survive if a rapid repair response is mounted that restores boundary integrity. Calcium has been identified as the key trigger to activate an effective membrane repair response that utilizes exocytosis and endocytosis to repair a membrane tear, or remove a membrane pore. We here review what is known about the cellular and molecular mechanisms of membrane repair, with particular emphasis on the relevance of repair as it relates to disease pathologies. Collective evidence reveals membrane repair employs primitive yet robust molecular machinery, such as vesicle fusion and contractile rings, processes evolutionarily honed for simplicity and success. Yet to be fully understood is whether core membrane repair machinery exists in all cells, or whether evolutionary adaptation has resulted in multiple compensatory repair pathways that specialize in different tissues and cells within our body.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1205-1240
Number of pages36
JournalPhysiological reviews
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Membrane repair: Mechanisms and pathophysiology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this