Flat clathrin lattices are dynamic actin-controlled hubs for clathrin-mediated endocytosis and signalling of specific receptors

Nat Commun. 2017 Jul 13;8:16068. doi: 10.1038/ncomms16068.


Clathrin lattices at the plasma membrane coat both invaginated and flat regions forming clathrin-coated pits and clathrin plaques, respectively. The function and regulation of clathrin-coated pits in endocytosis are well understood but clathrin plaques remain enigmatic nanodomains. Here we use super-resolution microscopy, molecular genetics and cell biology to show that clathrin plaques contain the machinery for clathrin-mediated endocytosis and cell adhesion, and associate with both clathrin-coated pits and filamentous actin. We also find that actin polymerization promoted by N-WASP through the Arp2/3 complex is crucial for the regulation of plaques but not pits. Clathrin plaques oppose cell migration and undergo actin- and N-WASP-dependent disassembly upon activation of LPA receptor 1, but not EGF receptor. Most importantly, plaque disassembly correlates with the endocytosis of LPA receptor 1 and down-modulation of AKT activity. Thus, clathrin plaques serve as dynamic actin-controlled hubs for clathrin-mediated endocytosis and signalling that exhibit receptor specificity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Actin-Related Protein 2-3 Complex / metabolism
  • Clathrin / physiology*
  • Clathrin-Coated Vesicles / metabolism*
  • Endocytosis*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Lysophosphatidic Acid / metabolism
  • Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome Protein, Neuronal / metabolism


  • Actin-Related Protein 2-3 Complex
  • Clathrin
  • LPAR1 protein, human
  • Receptors, Lysophosphatidic Acid
  • WASL protein, human
  • Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome Protein, Neuronal