Caenorhabditis elegans auxilin: a J-domain protein essential for clathrin-mediated endocytosis in vivo

Nat Cell Biol. 2001 Feb;3(2):215-9. doi: 10.1038/35055137.


The budding of clathrin-coated vesicles is essential for protein transport. After budding, clathrin must be uncoated before the vesicles can fuse with other membranous structures. In vitro, the molecular chaperone Hsc70 uncoats clathrin-coated vesicles in an ATP-dependent process that requires a specific J-domain protein such as auxilin. However, there is little evidence that either Hsc70 or auxilin is essential in vivo. Here we show that C. elegans has a single auxilin homologue that is identical to mammalian auxilin in its in vitro activity. When RNA-mediated interference (RNAi) is used to inhibit auxilin expression in C. elegans, oocytes show markedly reduced receptor-mediated endocytosis of yolk protein tagged with green fluorescent protein (GFP). In addition, most of these worms arrest during larval development, exhibit defective distribution of GFP-clathrin in many cell types, and show a marked change in clathrin dynamics, as determined by fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP). We conclude that auxilin is required for in vivo clathrin-mediated endocytosis and development in C. elegans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Vesicular Transport
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / anatomy & histology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / growth & development
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology
  • Clathrin / metabolism
  • Clathrin-Coated Vesicles / metabolism*
  • Egg Proteins / genetics
  • Egg Proteins / metabolism
  • Endocytosis / physiology*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / metabolism
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Indicators and Reagents / metabolism
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Luminescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Molecular Chaperones / metabolism
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Oocytes / metabolism*
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism*
  • RNA / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism


  • Adaptor Proteins, Vesicular Transport
  • Clathrin
  • Egg Proteins
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • RNA