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Cell. 1998 Nov 13;95(4):563-73.

Atomic structure of clathrin: a beta propeller terminal domain joins an alpha zigzag linker.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology and Center for Blood Research, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115-5701, USA.


Clathrin triskelions form the lattice that organizes recruitment of proteins to coated pits and helps drive vesiculation of the lipid bilayer. We report the crystal structure at 2.6 A resolution of a 55 kDa N-terminal fragment from the 190 kDa clathrin heavy chain. The structure comprises the globular "terminal domain" and the linker that joins it to the end of a triskelion leg. The terminal domain is a seven-blade beta propeller, a structure well adapted to interaction with multiple partners, such as the AP-1 and AP-2 sorting adaptor complexes and the nonvisual arrestins. The linker is an alpha-helical zigzag emanating from the propeller domain. We propose that this simple motif may extend into the rest of the clathrin leg.

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