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Membrane tension plays an inhibitory role in clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) by impeding the transition of flat plasma membrane to hemispherical clathrin-coated structures (CCSs). Membrane tension also impedes the transition of hemispherical domes to omega-shaped CCSs. However, CME is not completely halted in cells under high tension conditions. Here we find that epsin, a membrane bending protein which inserts its N-terminus H0 helix into lipid bilayer, supports flat-to-dome transition of a CCS and stabilizes its curvature at high tension. This discovery is supported by molecular dynamic simulation of the epsin N-terminal homology (ENTH) domain that becomes more structured when embedded in a lipid bilayer. In addition, epsin has an intrinsically disordered protein (IDP) C-terminus domain which induces membrane curvature via steric repulsion. Insertion of H0 helix into lipid bilayer is not sufficient for stable epsin recruitment. Epsin's binding to adaptor protein 2 and clathrin is critical for epsin's association with CCSs under high tension conditions, supporting the importance of multivalent interactions in CCSs. Together, our results support a model where the ENTH and unstructured IDP region of epsin have complementary roles to ensure CME initiation and CCS maturation are unimpeded under high tension environments.


Jophin G Joseph, Carlos Osorio, Vivian Yee, Ashutosh Agrawal, Allen P Liu. Complimentary action of structured and unstructured domains of epsin supports clathrin-mediated endocytosis at high tension. Communications biology. 2020 Dec 08;3(1):743

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PMID: 33293652

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