Ubiquitin and endocytic internalization in yeast and animal cells

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2004 Nov 29;1695(1-3):89-111. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2004.09.024.


Endocytosis is involved in a wide variety of cellular processes, and the internalization step of endocytosis has been extensively studied in both lower and higher eukaryotic cells. Studies in mammalian cells have described several endocytic pathways, with the main emphasis on clathrin-dependent endocytosis. Genetic studies in yeast have underlined the critical role of actin and actin-binding proteins, lipid modification, and the ubiquitin conjugation system. The combined results of studies of endocytosis in higher and lower eukaryotic cells reveal an interesting interplay in the two systems, including a crucial role for ubiquitin-associated events. The ubiquitylation of yeast cell-surface proteins clearly acts as a signal triggering their internalization. Mammalian cells display variations on the common theme of ubiquitin-linked endocytosis, according to the cell-surface protein considered. Many plasma membrane channels, transporters and receptors undergo cell-surface ubiquitylation, required for the internalization or later endocytic steps of some cell-surface proteins, whereas for others, internalization involves interaction with the ubiquitin conjugation system or with ancillary proteins, which are themselves ubiquitylated. Epsins and Eps15 (or Eps15 homologs), are commonly involved in the process of endocytosis in all eukaryotes, their critical role in this process stemming from their capacity to bind ubiquitin, and to undergo ubiquitylation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Clathrin / physiology
  • Endocytosis / physiology*
  • Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / physiology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-cbl
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / physiology
  • Ubiquitin / physiology*
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligase Complexes / physiology
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / physiology
  • Yeasts / enzymology
  • Yeasts / physiology*


  • Clathrin
  • Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Ubiquitin
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligase Complexes
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-cbl
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • RSP5 protein, S cerevisiae