Role of lipids and actin in the formation of clathrin-coated pits

Emmanuel Boucrot, Saveez Saffarian, Ramiro Massol, Tomas Kirchhausen, Marcelo Ehrlich*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Assembly of clathrin-coated pits and their maturation into coated vesicles requires coordinated interactions between specific lipids and several structural and regulatory proteins. In the presence of primary alcohols, phospholipase D generates phosphatidylalcohols instead of PA, reducing stimulation of phosphatidyl inositol 5-kinase (PI5K) and hence decreasing formation of phosphoinositide-4,5-biphosphate (PIP2). Using live-cell imaging, we have shown that acute treatment of cells with 1-butanol or other small primary alcohols induces rapid disassembly of coated pits at the plasma membrane and blocks appearance of new ones. Addition of exogenous PIP2 reverses this effect. Coated pits and vesicles reappear synchronously upon removal of 1-butanol; we have used this synchrony to assess the role of actin in coated vesicle assembly. Prolonged inhibition of actin polymerization by latrunculin A or cytochalasin D reduced by ∼ 50% the frequency of coated pit formation without affecting maturation into coated vesicles. As in control cells, removal of 1-butanol in the continued presence of an actin depolymerizer led to synchronous appearance of new pits, which matured normally. Thus, remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton is not essential for clathrin-coated vesicle assembly but may indirectly affect the nucleation of clathrin-coated pits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4036-4048
Number of pages13
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number20
StatePublished - 10 Dec 2006


FundersFunder number
American Heart Foundation
Dorot Fellowships and Fulbright Foundation
National Institutes of HealthGM 075252
National Institute of General Medical SciencesP01GM062566


    • 1-butanol
    • Actin
    • Clathrin
    • Endocytosis
    • Live-cell imaging
    • Phosphoinositides


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