The ESCRT (endosomal sorting complex required for transport) machinery is a group of multisubunit protein complexes conserved across phyla that are involved in a range of diverse cellular processes. ESCRT proteins regulate the biogenesis of MVBs (multivesicular bodies) and the sorting of ubiquitinated cargos on to ILVs (intraluminal vesicles) within these MVBs. These proteins are also recruited to sites of retroviral particle assembly, where they provide an activity that allows release of these retroviruses. More recently, these proteins have been shown to be recruited to the intracellular bridge linking daughter cells at the end of mitosis, where they act to ensure the separation of these cells through the process of cytokinesis. Although these cellular processes are diverse, they share a requirement for a topologically unique membrane-fission step for their completion. Current models suggest that the ESCRT machinery catalyses this membrane fission.

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