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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2007 Aug;19(4):417-25. Epub 2007 Jul 13.

Endocytosis: clathrin-mediated membrane budding.

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Department of Cell Biology, Center of Anatomy, Hannover Medical School, Carl-Neuberg Street 1, D-30625 Hannover, Germany.


Clathrin-dependent endocytosis is the major pathway for the uptake of nutrients and signaling molecules in higher eukaryotic cells. The long-held tenet that clathrin-coated vesicles are created from flat coated plasma membrane patches by a sequential process of invagination, bud formation and fission recently received strong support from the results of advanced live cell fluorescence microscopy. The data on the critical components that deform the plasma membrane locally into a coated bud suggest that membrane bending is a team effort requiring membrane-curving protein domains, actin dynamics and, last but not least, clathrin. The scission step requires the mechano-enzymatic function of dynamin, actin dynamics and possibly myosin motor proteins. Finally, a burst of auxilin/GAK initiates the uncoating of the vesicle.

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