Living with clathrin: its role in intracellular membrane traffic

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Science  09 Dec 1988:
Vol. 242, Issue 4884, pp. 1396-1402
DOI: 10.1126/science.2904698


Clathrin polymerization at the cytoplasmic side of the plasma membrane forms coated pits and vesicles that mediate uptake of cell surface receptors. Clathrin-coated vesicles have also been implicated in protein export but definition of their precise role has been controversial. Recent advances in characterization of the clathrin subunits and additional coated vesicle components have identified molecular interactions involved in clathrin polymerization and coated vesicle formation, and have provided new approaches to investigating its function. These studies suggest that clathrin's role, in both inward and outward membrane traffic, is to facilitate receptor transport by a concentration and sorting process that initiates targeting to specific intracellular compartments.

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