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Keywords:

  • membrane traffic;
  • Arf1;
  • phosphoinositides;
  • membrane biology;
  • protein structure;
  • protein crystallography

Abstract

The clathrin-associated adaptor protein (AP) complexes AP-1 and AP-2 are two members of a family of heterotetrameric assemblies that connect transmembrane protein cargo to vesicular coats. Cargo binding by AP-1 is activated by the small GTPase Arf1, while AP-2 is activated by the phosphoinositide PI(4,5)P2. The structures of both AP-1 and AP-2 have been determined in their locked and unlocked conformations. The structures show how different activators use different mechanisms to trigger similar large scale conformational rearrangements. The details of these mechanisms show how membrane docking and allosteric activation of AP complexes are intimately connected.