A test of clathrin function in protein secretion and cell growth

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Science  29 Nov 1985:
Vol. 230, Issue 4729, pp. 1009-1014
DOI: 10.1126/science.2865811


Clathrin-coated membranes are intimately associated with a variety of protein transport processes in eukaryotic cells, yet no direct test of clathrin function has been possible. The data presented demonstrate that Saccharomyces cerevisiae does not require clathrin for either cell growth or protein secretion. Antiserum to the yeast clathrin heavy chain has been used to isolate a molecular clone of the heavy chain gene (CHC1) from a library of yeast DNA in lambda gt11. Clathrin-deficient mutant yeast have been obtained by replacing the single chromosomal CHC1 gene with a disrupted version of the cloned DNA. Cells harboring a nonfunctional chc1 allele produce no immunoreactive heavy chain polypeptide, and vesicles prepared from mutant cells are devoid of clathrin heavy and light chains. Although clathrin-deficient cells grow two to three times more slowly than normal, secretion of invertase occurs at a nearly normal rate. Therefore protein transport through the secretory pathway is not obligately coupled to the formation of clathrin-coated vesicles.