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Cell. 2007 May 4;129(3):485-98. Epub 2007 Apr 19.

Molecular architecture and functional model of the complete yeast ESCRT-I heterotetramer.

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Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


The endosomal sorting complex required for transport-I (ESCRT-I) complex, which is conserved from yeast to humans, directs the lysosomal degradation of ubiquitinated transmembrane proteins and the budding of the HIV virus. Yeast ESCRT-I contains four subunits, Vps23, Vps28, Vps37, and Mvb12. The crystal structure of the heterotetrameric ESCRT-I complex reveals a highly asymmetric complex of 1:1:1:1 subunit stoichiometry. The core complex is nearly 18 nm long and consists of a headpiece attached to a 13 nm stalk. The stalk is important for cargo sorting by ESCRT-I and is proposed to serve as a spacer regulating the correct disposition of cargo and other ESCRT components. Hydrodynamic constraints and crystallographic structures were used to generate a model of intact ESCRT-I in solution. The results show how ESCRT-I uses a combination of a rigid stalk and flexible tethers to interact with lipids, cargo, and other ESCRT complexes over a span of approximately 25 nm.

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