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J Biol Chem. 2002 May 10;277(19):16484-8. Epub 2002 Feb 19.

Mechanism of interaction between leucine-based sorting signals from the invariant chain and clathrin-associated adaptor protein complexes AP1 and AP2.

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Division of Molecular Cell Biology, Department of Biology, University of Oslo, P. O. Box 1050 Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway.


The cytoplasmic tail of the invariant chain contains two leucine-based sorting signals, and each of those seems sufficient to route the invariant chain to its intracellular destination in either normal or polarized cells. It is believed that the intracellular routing of the invariant chain is mediated by its interactions with the clathrin-associated adaptor protein complexes AP1 and AP2. We () have previously demonstrated the in vitro interactions between the cytoplasmic tail of the invariant chain and AP1/AP2 complexes. These interactions were specific and depended on the critical leucine residues in the invariant chain's sorting signals. In the present study, we decided to investigate the molecular mechanism of these interactions. To this end, we constructed a set of glutathione S-transferase fusion proteins that contained the intact cytoplasmic tail of the invariant chain and its various mutants to define residues important for its interactions with AP1 and AP-2. Our results demonstrated the importance of several residues other than the critical leucine residues for such interactions. A strong correlation between in vitro binding of AP2 to the invariant chain and in vivo internalization of the invariant chain was observed, confirming the primary role of AP2 in recognition of endocytic signals. In addition, we demonstrated different requirements for AP1 and AP2 binding to cytoplasmic tail of the invariant chain, which may reflect that the different sorting pathways mediated by AP1 and AP2 involve their recognition of the primary structure of the sorting signal.

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