Clathrin coated pits and vesicles mediate the major pathway for uptake of plasma membrane receptors and their ligands into the cell to regulate signal transduction, the immune response and cell-cell and cell substrate interactions. Recent advances have enabled visualization of the dynamic behavior of fluorescently-labeled clathrin coated structures (CCSs) on the plasma membrane and during endocytosis, although the driving forces for this motility are unknown. The plasma membrane is structurally supported by an underlying cortical actin filament cytoskeleton whose dynamic remodeling maintains and changes the shape of the cell. Clearly the deformation of the plasma membrane during endocytic vesicle formation must somehow require concomitant local regulation of the underlying cortical actin cytoskeleton. Indeed, we have recently shown that actin assembly and disassembly are essential for multiple diverse aspects of CCS dynamics. How are the complex dynamics of clathrin-mediated endocytosis integrated with cortical actin assembly and disassembly? What are the functional linkages between these two highly dynamic and complex cellular machineries? What is the physiological significance of these diverse, actin-dependent CCS dynamic behaviors? To address these issues, we have established an intense collaborative effort that brings together experts on endocytosis with experts on actin dynamics and combines our technical expertise in cellular biochemistry, quantitative fluorescence microscopy, computational image analysis and mathematical modeling.
In Aim 1, we propose to develop new imaging assays, methods of trajectory analysis and statistical metrics to classify the diverse kinematics of clathrin-coated structures on the cell surface, during endocytosis and after nascent vesicle formation.
In Aim 2, using total internal reflection microscopy and quantitative fluorescent speckle microscopy, we will generate the first high-resolution, cross-correlation, spatio-temporal map of cortical actin and clathrin-coated structure dynamics in each kinematic class, to quantitatively examine the functional consequences of perturbing actin dynamics on endocytosis and to probe the physiological significance of the dynamic heterogeneity in CCSs.
In Aim 3, we will establish the molecular mechanisms that coordinate cortical actin dynamics with clathrin-mediated endocytosis. The project will advance us towards our long-term objective of developing a biochemical network model of the functional linkage between endocytosis and the actin cytoskeleton based on a large data repository of integrated dynamics of clathrin coated structures and cortical actin. ? ? ?

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-CB-H (02))
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Shapiro, Bert I
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Scripps Research Institute
La Jolla
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