Clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) manages the sorting and uptake of the bulk of membrane proteins (or cargo) from the plasma membrane. CME is initiated by the formation of clathrin-coated pits (CCPs), in which adaptors nucleate clathrin assembly. Clathrin adaptors display diversity in both the type and number of evolutionarily conserved clathrin-binding boxes. How this diversity relates to the process of adaptor clustering as clathrin assembles around a growing pit remains unclear. Using real-time, fluorescence microscopy-based assays, we compare the formation kinetics and distribution of clathrin assemblies on membranes that display five unique clathrin adaptors. Correlations between equilibrium and kinetic parameters of clathrin assembly to the eventual adaptor distribution indicate that adaptor clustering is determined not by the amount of clathrin recruited or the degree of clathrin clustered but instead by the rate of clathrin assembly. Together our results emphasize the need to analyze kinetics of protein interactions to better understand mechanisms that regulate CME.
© 2016 Pucadyil and Holkar. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). Two months after publication it is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0).