Clathrin light chain: importance of the conserved carboxy terminal domain to function in living cells

Traffic. 2006 Jul;7(7):824-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0854.2006.00438.x. Epub 2006 May 25.


Clathrin triskelions assemble into coats capable of packaging membrane and receptors for transport to intracellular destinations. A triskelion is formed from three heavy chains bound to three light chains. All clathrin light chains (clc) contain an acidic amino terminal domain, a central coiled segment, and a carboxy terminal domain conserved in amino acid sequence. To assess their functional contribution in vivo, we expressed tagged segments of the Dictyostelium clcA in clc-minus Dictyostelium (clc null) cells. We examined the ability of these clcA fragments to rescue clathrin phenotypic deficiencies, to cluster into punctae on membranes, and to bind to the heavy chain. When expressed in clc null cells, a clcA fragment containing the amino terminal domain and the central coiled domain bound heavy chain but was dispensable for clathrin function. Instead, the carboxy terminal domain of clcA was a critical determinant for association with punctae, for clathrin function and for robust binding to the heavy chain. A 70 amino acid carboxy terminal fragment was necessary and sufficient for full function, and for localization into punctae on intracellular membranes. A shorter 49 amino acid carboxy terminal fragment could distribute into punctae but failed to rescue developmental deficiencies. These results reveal the importance of the carboxy terminal domain of the light chain in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Survival
  • Clathrin Light Chains / chemistry*
  • Clathrin Light Chains / genetics
  • Clathrin Light Chains / metabolism*
  • Conserved Sequence*
  • Cytokinesis
  • Dictyostelium
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Peptide Fragments / genetics
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Protein Transport


  • Clathrin Light Chains
  • Peptide Fragments