The GTPase-activating protein GRAF1 regulates the CLIC/GEEC endocytic pathway.

Medical Research Council, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 0QH, UK.
Current Biology (Impact Factor: 9.92). 12/2008; 18(22):1802-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.10.044
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Clathrin-independent endocytosis is an umbrella term for a variety of endocytic pathways that internalize numerous cargoes independently of the canonical coat protein Clathrin [1, 2]. Electron-microscopy studies have defined the pleiomorphic CLathrin-Independent Carriers (CLICs) and GPI-Enriched Endocytic Compartments (GEECs) as related major players in such uptake [3, 4]. This CLIC/GEEC pathway relies upon cellular signaling and activation through small G proteins, but mechanistic insight into the biogenesis of its tubular and tubulovesicular carriers is lacking. Here we show that the Rho-GAP-domain-containing protein GRAF1 marks, and is indispensable for, a major Clathrin-independent endocytic pathway. This pathway is characterized by its ability to internalize bacterial exotoxins, GPI-linked proteins, and extracellular fluid. We show that GRAF1 localizes to PtdIns(4,5)P2-enriched, tubular, and punctate lipid structures via N-terminal BAR and PH domains. These membrane carriers are relatively devoid of caveolin1 and flotillin1 but are associated with activity of the small G protein Cdc42. This study provides the first specific noncargo marker for CLIC/GEEC endocytic membranes and demonstrates how GRAF1 can coordinate small G protein signaling and membrane remodeling to facilitate internalization of CLIC/GEEC pathway cargoes.

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