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Clathrin-mediated endocytosis in AP-2-depleted cells.

Motley A., Bright N.A., Seaman M.N.J., Robinson M.S.

We have used RNA interference to knock down the AP-2 mu2 subunit and clathrin heavy chain to undetectable levels in HeLaM cells. Clathrin-coated pits associated with the plasma membrane were still present in the AP-2-depleted cells, but they were 12-fold less abundant than in control cells. No clathrin-coated pits or vesicles could be detected in the clathrin-depleted cells, and post-Golgi membrane compartments were swollen. Receptor-mediated endocytosis of transferrin was severely inhibited in both clathrin- and AP-2-depleted cells. Endocytosis of EGF, and of an LDL receptor chimera, were also inhibited in the clathrin-depleted cells; however, both were internalized as efficiently in the AP-2-depleted cells as in control cells. These results indicate that AP-2 is not essential for clathrin-coated vesicle formation at the plasma membrane, but that it is one of several endocytic adaptors required for the uptake of certain cargo proteins including the transferrin receptor. Uptake of the EGF and LDL receptors may be facilitated by alternative adaptors.

J. Cell Biol. 162:909-918(2003) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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