Background: Clathrin-mediated endocytosis in budding yeast requires the regulated recruitment and disassociation of more than 60 proteins at discrete plasma membrane punctae. Posttranslational modifications such as ubiquitination may play important regulatory roles in this highly processive and ordered process. However, although ubiquitination plays an important role in cargo selection, functions for ubiquitination of the endocytic machinery are not known.
Results: We identified the deubiquitinase (DUB) Ubp7 as a late-arriving endocytic protein. Deletion of the DUBs Ubp2 and Ubp7 resulted in elongation of endocytic coat protein lifetimes at the plasma membrane and recruitment of endocytic proteins to internal membranes. These phenotypes could be replicated by expressing a permanently ubiquitinated version of Ede1, the yeast Eps15 homolog, which is implicated in endocytic site initiation, whereas EDE1 deletion partially suppressed the DUB deletion phenotype. Both DUBs are capable of deubiquitinating Ede1 in vitro.
Conclusions: Deubiquitination regulates formation of endocytic sites and stability of the endocytic coat. This regulation appears to occur through Ede1, because permanently ubiquitinated Ede1 phenocopies deletion of UBP2 and UBP7. Moreover, incomplete suppression of the ubp2Δ ubp7Δ phenotype by ede1Δ indicates that ubiquitination and deubiquitination are likely to regulate additional components of the endocytic machinery.
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