The wide variety of clathrin assemblies

Clathrin is a protein that forms triskels that assemble into honeycomb-like networks on the plasma membrane, but also on internal membranes, such as the Golgi apparatus and tubular endosomes. Clathrin assemblies mainly regulate the intracellular trafficking of various protein components. Clathrin also has non-endocytic functions in cell adhesion through interactions with specific integrins. It contributes to the formation of intraluminal vesicles by forming flat bilayer coatings on endosomes and even assembles on the microtubule fibres of kinetochores during mitosis.

In this article, the two authors, one of whom is a researcher at the Institute of Myology*, review current knowledge of the different types of classical and non-classical membrane-associated clathrin assemblies in mammalian cells, as observed by thin-section or platinum-replica electron microscopy in various cell types. Finally, the scientists discuss how the structural plasticity of clathrin contributes to its functional diversity.


* Stéphane Vassilopoulos, co-leader of the Muscle Cell Organisation and Therapy of Dominant Centronuclear Myopathy team at the Center of Research in Myology.


Vassilopoulos S, Montagnac G. Clathrin assemblies at a glance. J Cell Sci. 2024 Apr 15;137(8):jcs261674. doi: 10.1242/jcs.261674. Epub 2024 Apr 24. PMID: 38668719.