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EMBO Rep. 2003 Nov;4(11):1089-95. Epub 2003 Oct 10.

Identification of a family of endocytic proteins that define a new alpha-adaptin ear-binding motif.

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Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, 3801 University Street, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 2B4.


Endocytosis by clathrin-coated vesicles (CCVs) is an important mechanism mediating protein internalization. Here, we show that two proteins identified through a proteomics analysis of CCVs are new components of the endocytic machinery. The proteins, named NECAP (adaptin-ear-binding coat-associated protein) 1 and 2, are paralogues that display no sequence similarity or common domains with any known protein. Both are enriched in CCV coats, and further analysis of the brain-enriched isoform, NECAP 1, shows its partial localization to clathrin-coated pits and direct binding to the globular ear domain of the alpha-adaptin subunit (alpha-ear) of the adaptor protein 2 (AP-2) complex. Intriguingly, this interaction is mediated by a new motif, WVQF, that uses a distinct alpha-ear interface relative to known alpha-ear-binding partners. Disruption of this interaction blocks clathrin-mediated endocytosis. Together, our studies identify a new family of endocytic proteins that define a unique AP-2-binding motif.

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