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Keywords:

  • actin cytoskeleton;
  • clathrin;
  • Drosophila;
  • endocytosis;
  • morphogenesis;
  • muscle T-tubules;
  • photoreceptor;
  • synapse

Amphiphysins, members of the BAR (Bin-Amphiphysin-Rvsp) protein super family, have been postulated to play a key role in clathrin-mediated endocytosis of synaptic vesicles (SVs). This review focuses on recent genetic studies of the role of amphiphysins in SV recycling and membrane morphogenesis. In the mouse, brain-specific amphiphysin I and II regulate, but are not essential for, SV recycling. The role of this regulation appears important, as mice deficient in these proteins have seizures and are deficient in learning and memory. In the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, amphiphysin is found in muscles and is enriched at postsynaptic membranes of neuromuscular junctions (NMJs); however, it does not play a role in SV recycling. Rather, amphiphysin in fly muscles appears to regulate the organization and structure of the muscle T-tubule system and possibly the subsynaptic reticulum. Amphiphysin is also involved in membrane organization in both neurons and non-neuronal cells in Drosophila. These studies reveal pleiotropic functions for amphiphysins in clathrin-mediated endocytosis and the regulation of membrane dynamics, perhaps through the actin cytoskeleton.