Clathrin-mediated Endocytosis

Endocytosis is the process by which cells are able to internalize membrane and extracellular materials through the formation of a vesicle. The process of membrane budding to form a vesicle is generally mediated by a protein coat, which acts both as a means to deform the membrane and to concentrate specific types of proteins inside the nascent vesicle. Clathrin is a coat protein that has been shown to function in receptor-mediated endocytosis events at the plasma membrane.

The animation below shows the process of clathrin-mediated endocytosis. Iron-bound transferrin is bound to its receptor on the exterior cell membrane. The transferrin receptor in turn binds to adaptor proteins in the interior of the cell, triggering the formation of a clathrin cage around the bound transferrin receptors. Soon after the vesicle has budded off the membrane, clathrin cage disassembly begins. Disassembly is mediated by HSC70, and its cofactor auxilin.

Download movie
Please note that animations and illustrations from this website are licensed under a Creative Commons License, and may be freely downloaded for non-commercial uses with proper attribution. See link at bottom of page for more information.

[ download quicktime (40 Mb) ]

Other resources

Clathrin: Molecule of the Month at the Protein Data Bank

Kirchhausen lab


Many thanks to Tom Kirchhausen (HMS) for collaborating on this project.

Creative Commons License
This work by Janet Iwasa is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.