Cargo recognition in clathrin-mediated endocytosis

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2013 Nov 1;5(11):a016790. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a016790.


The endosomal system is expansive and complex, characterized by swift morphological transitions, dynamic remodeling of membrane constituents, and intracellular positioning changes. To properly navigate this ever-altering membrane labyrinth, transmembrane protein cargoes typically require specific sorting signals that are decoded by components of protein coats. The best-characterized sorting process within the endosomal system is the rapid internalization of select transmembrane proteins within clathrin-coated vesicles. Endocytic signals consist of linear motifs, conformational determinants, or covalent modifications in the cytosolic domains of transmembrane cargo. These signals are interpreted by a diverse set of clathrin-associated sorting proteins (CLASPs) that translocate from the cytosol to the inner face of the plasma membrane. Signal recognition by CLASPs is highly cooperative, involving additional interactions with phospholipids, Arf GTPases, other CLASPs, and clathrin, and is regulated by large conformational changes and covalent modifications. Related sorting events occur at other endosomal sorting stations.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Vesicular Transport / metabolism
  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Clathrin / metabolism*
  • Clathrin-Coated Vesicles / metabolism
  • Cytosol / metabolism
  • Endocytosis / physiology*
  • Endosomes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Protein Transport
  • Signal Transduction
  • Ubiquitin / metabolism


  • Adaptor Proteins, Vesicular Transport
  • Clathrin
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Ubiquitin