To suggest and develop intelligent strategies to comprehend the regulation of organelle formation, a deeper mechanistic interpretation requires more than just the involvement of proteins. Our approaches link the formation of endomembranes with both signalling and membrane physical properties. Hitherto, membrane morphology, local physical structure and signalling have not been well integrated. Our studies derive from a cross-disciplinary approach undertaken to determine the molecular mechanisms of nuclear envelope assembly in echinoderm and mammalian cells. Our findings have led to the demonstration of a direct role for phosphoinositides and their derivatives in nuclear membrane formation. We have shown that phosphoinositides and their derivatives, as well as acting as second messengers, are modulators of membrane morphology, and their modifying enzymes regulate nuclear envelope formation. In addition, we have shown that echinoderm eggs can be exploited as a milieu to directly study the roles of phospholipids in maintaining organelle shape. The use of the echinoderm egg is a significant step forward in obtaining direct information about membrane physical properties in situ rather than using simpler models which do not provide a complete mechanistic insight into the role of phospholipids in membrane dynamics.

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