Adaptable adaptors for coated vesicles

Trends Cell Biol. 2004 Apr;14(4):167-74. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2004.02.002.


Adaptors select cargo for inclusion into coated vesicles in the late secretory and endocytic pathways. Although originally there were thought to be just two adaptors, AP-1 and AP-2, it is now clear that there are many more: two additional adaptor complexes, AP-3 and AP-4, which might function independently of clathrin; a family of monomeric adaptors, the GGAs; and an ever-growing number of cargo-specific adaptors. The adaptors are targeted to the appropriate membrane at least in part by interacting with phosphoinositides, and, once on the membrane, they form interconnected networks to get different types of cargo into the same vesicle. Adaptors participate in trafficking pathways shared by all cells, and they are also used to generate specialized organelles and to influence cell fate during development.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Vesicular Transport / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Clathrin / metabolism*
  • Coated Vesicles / metabolism*
  • Endocytosis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Protein Transport / physiology


  • Adaptor Proteins, Vesicular Transport
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Clathrin