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Concept: Dynamin


The actin-based molecular motor myosin VI functions in the endocytic uptake pathway, both during the early stages of clathrin-mediated uptake and in later transport to/from early endosomes. This study uses fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) to examine the turnover rate of myosin VI during endocytosis. The results demonstrate that myosin VI turns over dynamically on endocytic structures with a characteristic half-life common to both the large insert isoform of myosin VI on clathrin-coated structures and the no-insert isoform on early endosomes. This half-life is shared by the myosin VI-binding partner Dab2 and is identical for full-length myosin VI and the cargo-binding tail region. The 4-fold slower half-life of an artificially dimerized construct of myosin VI on clathrin-coated structures suggests that wild type myosin VI does not function as a stable dimer, but either as a monomer or in a monomer/dimer equilibrium. Taken together, these FRAP results offer insight into both the basic turnover dynamics and the monomer/dimer nature of myosin VI.

Concepts: Fluorescence, Molecular biology, Function, Dynamics, Endosome, Receptor-mediated endocytosis, Dynamin, Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching


Dynamin is a mechanochemical GTPase essential for membrane fission during clathrin-mediated endocytosis. Dynamin forms helical complexes at the neck of clathrin-coated pits and their structural changes coupled with GTP hydrolysis drive membrane fission. Dynamin and its binding protein amphiphysin cooperatively regulate membrane remodeling during the fission, but its precise mechanism remains elusive. In this study, we analyzed structural changes of dynamin-amphiphysin complexes during the membrane fission using electron microscopy (EM) and high-speed atomic force microscopy (HS-AFM). Interestingly, HS-AFM analyses show that the dynamin-amphiphysin helices are rearranged to form clusters upon GTP hydrolysis and membrane constriction occurs at protein-uncoated regions flanking the clusters. We also show a novel function of amphiphysin in size control of the clusters to enhance biogenesis of endocytic vesicles. Our approaches using combination of EM and HS-AFM clearly demonstrate new mechanistic insights into the dynamics of dynamin-amphiphysin complexes during membrane fission.

Concepts: Protein, Electron, Cell membrane, Scanning tunneling microscope, Endocytosis, GTPase, Cellular processes, Dynamin


Clathrin independent endocytosis (CIE) is a form of endocytosis present in all cells that mediates the entry of nutrients, macromolecules and membrane proteins into cells. When compared to clathrin-dependent endocytosis (CDE), however, much less is known about the machinery involved in forming CIE endosomes. One way to distinguish CIE from CDE has been to deplete cells of coat proteins involved in CDE such as clathrin or the dynamin GTPase, leading to a block of CDE but not CIE. A drawback of such genetic manipulations is that depletion of proteins important for mediating CDE over a period of days can have complex indirect effects on cellular function. The identification of chemical compounds that specifically and rapidly block CDE or CIE would facilitate the determination of whether a process involved CDE or CIE. To date, all of those compounds have targeted CDE. Dynasore and the dynoles specifically target and block dynamin activity thus inhibiting CDE but not most forms of CIE. Recently, a new compound called pitstop 2 was identified as an inhibitor of the interaction of amphiphysin with the amino terminal domain of clathrin, and shown to inhibit CDE in cells. Here we show that pitstop 2 is also a potent inhibitor of CIE. The effects of pitstop 2 are not restricted to inhibition of clathrin since knockdown of clathrin fails to rescue the inhibition of endocytosis of CIE proteins by the drug. Thus pitstop 2 has additional cellular targets besides the amino terminal domain of clathrin and thus cannot be used to distinguish CIE from CDE.

Concepts: Protein, Cell membrane, Enzyme inhibitor, Inhibitor, Chemical compound, Xanthine oxidase inhibitor, Endocytosis, Dynamin


Dynamin is a large GTPase that forms a helical collar at the neck of endocytic pits, and catalyzes membrane fission (1, 2). Dynamin fission reaction is strictly dependent on GTP hydrolysis, but how fission is mediated is still debated (3): GTP energy could be spent in membrane constriction required for fission, or in disassembly of the dynamin polymer to trigger fission. To follow dynamin GTP hydrolysis at endocytic pits, we generated a conformation-specific nanobody called dynab, that binds preferentially to the GTP hydrolytic state of dynamin-1. Dynab allowed us to follow the GTPase activity of dynamin-1 in real-time. We show that in fibroblasts, dynamin GTP hydrolysis occurs as stochastic bursts, which are randomly distributed relatively to the peak of dynamin assembly. Thus, dynamin disassembly is not coupled to GTPase activity, supporting that the GTP energy is primarily spent in constriction.

Concepts: Energy, Chemical reaction, Polymer, Nuclear fission, Hydrolysis, GTPase, Gamma ray, Dynamin


Clathrin-mediated endocytosis is the major pathway by which cells internalize materials from the external environment. Dynamin, a large multidomain GTPase, is a key regulator of clathrin-mediated endocytosis. It assembles at the necks of invaginated clathrin-coated pits and, through GTP hydrolysis, catalyzes scission and release of clathrin-coated vesicles from the plasma membrane. Several small molecule inhibitors of dynamin’s GTPase activity, such as Dynasore and Dyngo-4a, are currently available, although their specificity has been brought into question. Previous screens for these inhibitors measured dynamin’s stimulated GTPase activity due to lack of sufficient sensitivity, hence the mechanisms by which they inhibit dynamin are uncertain. We report a highly sensitive fluorescence-based assay capable of detecting dynamin’s basal GTPase activity under conditions compatible with high throughput screening. Utilizing this optimized assay, we conducted a pilot screen of 8000 compounds and identified several “hits” that inhibit the basal GTPase activity of dynamin-1. Subsequent dose-response curves were used to validate the activity of these compounds. Interestingly, we found neither Dynasore nor Dyngo-4a inhibited dynamin’s basal GTPase activity, although both inhibit assembly-stimulated GTPase activity. This assay provides the basis for a more extensive search for more potent and chemically desirable dynamin inhibitors.

Concepts: Protein, Cell membrane, Molecule, Type I and type II errors, Enzyme inhibitor, Endocytosis, GTPase, Dynamin


Dynamin is a multidomain GTPase exhibiting mechanochemical and catalytic properties involved in vesicle scission from the plasmalemma during endocytosis. New evidence indicates that dynamin is also involved in exocytotic release of catecholamines, suggesting the existence of a dynamin-regulated structure that couples endo- to exocytosis.

Concepts: Cell, Cytosol, Cell membrane, Membrane biology, Vesicle, Endocytosis, Dynamin, Exocytosis


Dynamin superfamily proteins comprising classical dynamins and related proteins are membrane remodelling agents involved in several biological processes such as endocytosis, maintenance of organelle morphology and viral resistance. These large GTPases couple GTP hydrolysis with membrane alterations such as fission, fusion or tubulation by undergoing repeated cycles of self-assembly/disassembly. The functions of these proteins are regulated by various post-translational modifications that affect their GTPase activity, multimerization or membrane association. Recently, several reports have demonstrated variety of such modifications providing a better understanding of the mechanisms by which dynamin proteins influence cellular responses to physiological and environmental cues. In this review, we discuss major post-translational modifications along with their roles in the mechanism of dynamin functions and implications in various cellular processes.

Concepts: Amino acid, Biology, Cell biology, Endocytosis, GTPase, Cellular processes, Dynamin


Neurons that endocytose the human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV) protein gp120 exhibit neurite retraction and activation of caspase-3, suggesting that the endocytic process may be crucial for gp120-mediated neuronal injury. The goal of this study is to demonstrate that internalization and accumulation of gp120 play a role in its neurotoxic effects. In mammalian cells, endocytosis is primarily a dynamin-dependent process. To establish whether gp120 is endocytosed in a dynamin-dependent manner, we used fibroblasts in which deletion of dynamins was induced by tamoxifen. We observed a robust reduction of intracellular gp120 immunoreactivity in tamoxifen-treated cells. To examine whether endocytosis of gp120 is crucial for its neurotoxic effect, we blocked gp120 internalization into primary rat cortical neurons by dynasore, an inhibitor of the dynamin GTP-ase activity. We found that dynasore blocks both gp120 internalization and neurotoxicity. We then utilized gp120-loaded mesoporous silica nanoparticles to deliver gp120 intracellularly. We established that once internalized, gp120 is neurotoxic regardless of chemokine receptor activation. Our data suggest that dynamin-dependent endocytosis of gp120 is critical for its neurotoxicity.

Concepts: HIV, Signal transduction, Cell membrane, Cell biology, Cerebral cortex, Endocytosis, Mesoporous silica, Dynamin


Classical dynamins bind the plasma membrane-localized phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate using the pleckstrin-homology domain (PHD) and engage in rapid membrane fission during synaptic vesicle recycling. This domain is conspicuously absent among extant bacterial and mitochondrial dynamins, however, where loop regions manage membrane recruitment. Inspired by the core design of bacterial and mitochondrial dynamins, we reengineered the classical dynamin by replacing its PHD with a polyhistidine or polylysine linker. Remarkably, when recruited via chelator or anionic lipids, respectively, the reengineered dynamin displayed the capacity to constrict and sever membrane tubes. However, when analyzed at single-event resolution, the tube-severing process displayed long-lived, highly constricted prefission intermediates that contributed to 10-fold reduction in bulk rates of membrane fission. Our results indicate that the PHD acts as a catalyst in dynamin-induced membrane fission and rationalize its adoption to meet the physiologic requirement of a fast-acting membrane fission apparatus.

Concepts: Cell, Archaea, Bacteria, Metabolism, Enzyme, Eukaryote, The Core, Dynamin


Notch signaling regulates normal development and tissue homeostasis. Ligand endocytosis plays critical roles in Notch signaling activation. Endocytic proteins such as epsin and dynamin participate in Notch ligand activity by mediating Notch ligand endocytosis. The ubiquitin ligase Mib1 also plays essential roles in Notch signaling via Notch ligand ubiquitination. However, the molecular links between Mib1 and endocytic proteins have not been fully defined. Here, we show that Mib1 is involved in dynamin 2 recruitment to Dll1 and that Snx18, which interacts with dynamin 2, modestly regulates Dll1 endocytosis. Furthermore, the ubiquitin ligase activity of Mib1 is induced by Notch ligand-receptor interactions. Mib1 promotes the interaction between dynamin 2 and Snx18 in an ubiquitin ligase activity-dependent manner. These results suggest that Mib1 modulates dynamin recruitment by regulating the interaction between Snx18 and dynamin 2, thereby helping to ensure the efficient signaling activity of Notch ligands.

Concepts: Cell, Cell membrane, Proteasome, Ubiquitin, Ubiquitin ligase, Endocytosis, Dynamin, AP2 adaptors