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Neuron. 2002 Oct 24;36(3):435-49.

Dynamics and regulation of clathrin coats at specialized endocytic zones of dendrites and spines.

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Department of Neurobiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Endocytosis is a fundamental mechanism by which neurons control intercellular signaling, nutrient uptake, and synaptic transmission. This process is carried out by the assembly of clathrin coats and the budding of clathrin-coated vesicles from the neuronal plasma membrane. Here, we demonstrate that in young neurons, clathrin assembly and disassembly occur rapidly, locally, and repeatedly at "hot spots" throughout dendrites and at the tips of dendritic filopodia. In contrast, clathrin coats in mature dendrites reside in stable, long-lasting zones at sites of endocytosis, where clathrin undergoes continuous exchange with local cytosolic pools. In dendritic spines, endocytic zones lie lateral to the postsynaptic density (PSD) where they develop and persist independent of synaptic activity, akin to the PSD itself. These results reveal the presence of a novel specialization dedicated to endocytosis near the postsynaptic membrane.

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