Research Article

Controlled Elimination of Clathrin Heavy-Chain Expression in DT40 Lymphocytes

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Science  30 Aug 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5586, pp. 1521-1525
DOI: 10.1126/science.1074222

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We exploited the high rate of homologous recombination shown by the chicken B cell line DT40 to inactivate the endogenous alleles for clathrin heavy chain and replace them with human clathrin complementary DNA under the control of a tetracycline-regulatable promoter. Clathrin repression perturbed the activities of Akt-mediated and mitogen-activated protein kinase–mediated signaling pathways and induced apoptosis; this finding suggests that in DT40 cells clathrin helps to maintain the integrity of antiapoptotic survival pathways. We also describe a variant cell line in which these signaling pathways were unaffected by clathrin down-regulation. This variant cell line did not undergo apoptosis in the absence of clathrin and was used to examine the effects of clathrin depletion on membrane-trafficking pathways. Receptor-mediated and fluid-phase endocytosis were both substantially inhibited, and transferrin-receptor recycling was modestly inhibited. Surprisingly, clathrin removal did not affect the morphology or biochemical composition of lysosomes.

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