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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2001 Mar 26;1535(3):236-57.

Molecular requirements for the internalisation step of endocytosis: insights from yeast.

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Laboratory of Yeast Cell Biology, Institute of Molecular Agrobiology, 1 Research Link, National University of Singapore, 117604, Singapore.


Molecular genetic studies of endocytosis using the unicellular eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae (budding yeast) have led to the identification of many cellular components, both proteins and lipids, required for this process. While initially, many of these requirements (e.g. for actin, various actin-associated proteins, the ubiquitin conjugation system, and for ergosterol and sphingolipids) appeared to differ from known requirements for endocytosis in higher eukaryotes (e.g. clathrin, AP-2, dynamin), it now seems that endocytosis in higher and lower eukaryotes share many requirements. Often, what were initially identified as actin cytoskeleton-associated proteins in S. cerevisiae, are now revealing themselves as clathrin-coated pit- and vesicle-associated proteins in higher eukaryotes. So rather than delineating two endocytic pathways, one actin-based and one clathrin-based, the combined studies on higher and lower eukaryotes are revealing interesting interplay in both systems between the actin cytoskeleton, clathrin coats, and lipids in the formation of endocytic vesicles at the plasma membrane. Recent results from the yeast system show that the Arp2/3p complex, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP), and WASP-interacting protein (WIP), proteins involved in the nucleation step of actin filament assembly, play a major role in the formation of endocytic vesicles. This discovery suggests models whereby endocytic vesicles may be actively pushed from the plasma membrane and into the cell by newly forming and rapidly extending actin filaments.

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