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Cell. 2001 Feb 9;104(3):433-40.

A novel all helix fold of the AP180 amino-terminal domain for phosphoinositide binding and clathrin assembly in synaptic vesicle endocytosis.

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Structural and Computational Biology and Molecular Biophysics Graduate Program, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Clathrin-mediated endocytosis plays a major role in retrieving synaptic vesicles from the plasma membrane following exocytosis. This endocytic process requires AP180 (or a homolog), which promotes the assembly and restricts the size of clathrin-coated vesicles. The highly conserved 33 kDa amino-terminal domain of AP180 plays a critical role in binding to phosphoinositides and in regulating the clathrin assembly activity of AP180. The crystal structure of the amino-terminal domain reported herein reveals a novel fold consisting of a large double layer of sheets of ten alpha helices and a unique site for binding phosphoinositides. The finding that the clathrin-box motif is mostly buried and lies in a helix indicates a different site and mechanism for binding of the domain to clathrins than previously assumed.

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