1. Biochemistry and Chemical Biology
  2. Cell Biology
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A nanobody-based molecular toolkit provides new mechanistic insight into clathrin-coat initiation

  1. Linton M Traub  Is a corresponding author
  1. University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, United States
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Cite this article as: eLife 2019;8:e41768 doi: 10.7554/eLife.41768


Besides AP-2 and clathrin triskelia, clathrin coat inception depends on a group of early-arriving proteins including Fcho1/2 and Eps15/R. Using genome-edited cells, we described the role of the unstructured Fcho linker in stable AP-2 membrane deposition. Here, expanding this strategy in combination with a new set of llama nanobodies against EPS15 shows an FCHO1/2–EPS15/R partnership plays a decisive role in coat initiation. A nanobody containing an Asn-Pro-Phe peptide within the complementarity determining region 3 loop is a function-blocking pseudoligand for tandem EPS15/R EH domains. Yet, in living cells, EH domains gathered at clathrin-coated structures are poorly accessible, indicating residence by endogenous NPF-bearing partners. Forcibly sequestering cytosolic EPS15 in genome-edited cells with nanobodies tethered to early endosomes or mitochondria changes the subcellular location and availability of EPS15. This combined approach has strong effects on clathrin coat structure and function by dictating the stability of AP-2 assemblies at the plasma membrane.

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Author details

  1. Linton M Traub

    Department of Cell Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, United States
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-1303-0298


National Institute of General Medical Sciences (R01GM106963)

  • Linton M Traub

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Suzanne R Pfeffer, Stanford University School of Medicine, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: September 11, 2018
  2. Accepted: April 24, 2019
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: April 30, 2019 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: May 17, 2019 (version 2)


© 2019, Traub

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.


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