Adaptor protein (AP) complexes are heterotetrameric assemblies of subunits named adaptins. Four AP complexes, termed AP-1, AP-2, AP-3, and AP-4, have been described in various eukaryotic organisms. Biochemical and morphological evidence indicates that AP complexes play roles in the formation of vesicular transport intermediates and the selection of cargo molecules for inclusion into these intermediates. This understanding is being expanded by the application of genetic interference procedures. Here, we review recent progress in the genetic analysis of the function of AP complexes, focusing on studies that make use of targeted interference or naturally-occurring mutations in various model organisms.