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Traffic. 2005 Oct;6(10):918-29.

Differential control of clathrin subunit dynamics measured with EW-FRAP microscopy.

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Department of Membrane Biophysics, Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Am Fassberg 11, D-37077 Goettingen, Germany.


The clathrin triskelion is composed of three light chain (LC) and three heavy chain (HC) subunits. Cellular control of clathrin function is thought to be aimed at the LC subunit, mainly on the basis of structural information. To test this hypothesis in vivo, we used evanescent-wave photobleaching recovery to study clathrin exchange from single pits using LC (LCa and LCb) and HC enhanced green fluorescent protein fusion constructs. The recovery signal was corrected for cytosolic diffusional background, yielding the pure exchange reaction times. For LCa, we measured an unbinding time constant tau(LEa) = 18.9 +/- 1.0 seconds at room temperature, faster than previously published; for LCb, we found tau(LCb) = 10.6 +/- 1.9 seconds and for HC tau(HC) = 15.9 +/- 1.0 seconds. Sucrose treatment, ATP or Ca(2+) depletion blocked exchange of LCa completely, but only partially of HC, lowering its time constant to tau = 10.0 +/- 0.9 seconds, identical to the one for LCb exchange. The latter was also not blocked by Ca(2+) depletion or sucrose. We conclude that HCs bound both to LCa and to LCb contribute side by side to pit formation in vivo, but the affinity of LCa-free HC in pits is reduced, and the Ca(2+)- and ATP-mediated control of clathrin function is lost.

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