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Mol Biol Cell. 2011 May 15;22(10):1699-715. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E10-10-0799. Epub 2011 Mar 16.

Clathrin-dependent mechanisms modulate the subcellular distribution of class C Vps/HOPS tether subunits in polarized and nonpolarized cells.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


Coats define the composition of carriers budding from organelles. In addition, coats interact with membrane tethers required for vesicular fusion. The yeast AP-3 (Adaptor Protein Complex 3) coat and the class C Vps/HOPS (HOmotypic fusion and Protein Sorting) tether follow this model as their interaction occurs at the carrier fusion step. Here we show that mammalian Vps class C/HOPS subunits and clathrin interact and that acute perturbation of clathrin function disrupts the endosomal distribution of Vps class C/HOPS tethers in HEK293T and polarized neuronal cells. Vps class C/HOPS subunits and clathrin exist in complex with either AP-3 or hepatocyte growth factor receptor substrate (Hrs). Moreover, Vps class C/HOPS proteins cofractionate with clathrin-coated vesicles, which are devoid of Hrs. Expression of FK506 binding protein (FKBP)-clathrin light chain chimeras, to inhibit clathrin membrane association dynamics, increased Vps class C/HOPS subunit content in rab5 endosomal compartments. Additionally, Vps class C/HOPS subunits were concentrated at tips of neuronal processes, and their delivery was impaired by expression of FKBP-clathrin chimeras and AP20187 incubation. These data support a model in which Vps class C/HOPS subunits incorporate into clathrin-coated endosomal domains and carriers in mammalian cells. We propose that vesicular (AP-3) and nonvesicular (Hrs) clathrin mechanisms segregate class C Vps/HOPS tethers to organelles and domains of mammalian cells bearing complex architectures.

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