The endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT)-III is associated with a multitude of cellular processes involving membrane remodeling and abscission. The exact composition of ESCRT-III and the contribution of individual ESCRT-III family members to these diverse functions is unclear. Most of the currently available information about ESCRT-III was obtained with tagged, largely non-functional proteins, which may not correctly reflect the in vivo situation. Here, we performed a comprehensive biochemical analysis of ESCRT-III localization and composition in yeast under purely native conditions. Most of our findings are in line with the current concepts about ESCRT-III, but some findings are unexpected and call for adjustments to the model. In particular, our data suggest that the distinction between bona fide ESCRT-III components and ESCRT-III associated proteins is not justified. We detected a single complex containing all ESCRT-III members (except of Chm7) with Did2 as its main component. The classical core components were present in equimolar amounts. Our analysis of the impact of single deletions on the composition of ESCRT-III confirmed the central role of Snf7 for ESCRT-III assembly. For the other ESCRT-III family members predictions could be made about their role in ESCRT-III assembly. Furthermore, our cell fractionation points to a role of Vps20 at the endoplasmic reticulum.

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