Evolutionarily unique mechanistic framework of clathrin-mediated endocytosis in plants

Elife. 2020 Jan 23;9:e52067. doi: 10.7554/eLife.52067.


In plants, clathrin mediated endocytosis (CME) represents the major route for cargo internalisation from the cell surface. It has been assumed to operate in an evolutionary conserved manner as in yeast and animals. Here we report characterisation of ultrastructure, dynamics and mechanisms of plant CME as allowed by our advancement in electron microscopy and quantitative live imaging techniques. Arabidopsis CME appears to follow the constant curvature model and the bona fide CME population generates vesicles of a predominantly hexagonal-basket type; larger and with faster kinetics than in other models. Contrary to the existing paradigm, actin is dispensable for CME events at the plasma membrane but plays a unique role in collecting endocytic vesicles, sorting of internalised cargos and directional endosome movement that itself actively promote CME events. Internalized vesicles display a strongly delayed and sequential uncoating. These unique features highlight the independent evolution of the plant CME mechanism during the autonomous rise of multicellularity in eukaryotes.

Keywords: A. thaliana; actin; arabidopsis; cell biology; endocytosis; plant biology; vesicle trafficking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis* / genetics
  • Arabidopsis* / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis* / physiology
  • Biological Evolution
  • Clathrin* / chemistry
  • Clathrin* / metabolism
  • Clathrin* / ultrastructure
  • Clathrin-Coated Vesicles / chemistry
  • Clathrin-Coated Vesicles / metabolism
  • Clathrin-Coated Vesicles / ultrastructure
  • Coated Pits, Cell-Membrane* / chemistry
  • Coated Pits, Cell-Membrane* / metabolism
  • Coated Pits, Cell-Membrane* / ultrastructure
  • Endocytosis / physiology*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Models, Biological


  • Clathrin