Clathrin: Its Role in Receptor-Mediated Vesicular Transport and Specialized Functions in Neurons

Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. 1993;28(5):431-64. doi: 10.3109/10409239309078441.


Clathrin constitutes the coat of vesicles involved in three receptor-mediated intracellular transport pathways; the export of aggregated material from the trans-Golgi network for regulated secretion, the transfer of lysosomal hydrolases from the trans-Golgi network to lysosomes and receptor-mediated endocytosis at the plasma membrane. The clathrin subunits and the other major coat constituents, the adaptor polypeptides, interact in specific ways to build the characteristic polygonal clathrin lattice and to attach the coat to integral membrane receptors. Both clathrin coat assembly and disassembly on the cytoplasmic side of the membrane are multistep processes that are regulated by the coat constituents themselves and by cytosolic proteins and factors. Neurons represent a cell type with distinct morphology and special demands on exocytic and endocytic pathways that requires neuron-specific constituents and modifications of clathrin-coated vesicles.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Vesicular Transport
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Clathrin / chemistry
  • Clathrin / physiology*
  • Coated Pits, Cell-Membrane / physiology*
  • Endocytosis / physiology*
  • Golgi Apparatus / metabolism
  • Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism
  • Lysosomes / enzymology
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Folding
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism


  • Adaptor Proteins, Vesicular Transport
  • Clathrin
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Hydrolases