[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Current knowledge of the structural changes taking place during clathrin-mediated endocytosis is largely based on electron microscopy images of fixed preparations and x-ray crystallography data of purified proteins. In this paper, we describe a study of clathrin-coated pit dynamics in living cells using ion conductance microscopy to directly image the changes in pit shape, combined with simultaneous confocal microscopy to follow molecule-specific fluorescence. We find that 70% of pits closed with the formation of a protrusion that grew on one side of the pit, covered the entire pit, and then disappeared together with pit-associated clathrin-enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) and actin-binding protein-EGFP (Abp1-EGFP) fluorescence. This was in contrast to conventionally closing pits that closed and cleaved from flat membrane sheets and lacked accompanying Abp1-EGFP fluorescence. Scission of both types of pits was found to be dynamin-2 dependent. This technique now enables direct spatial and temporal correlation between functional molecule-specific fluorescence and structural information to follow key biological processes at cell surfaces.
Full-text · Article · May 2012 · The Journal of Cell Biology