Recent data have shown that Eps15, a newly identified component of clathrin-coated pits constitutively associated with the AP-2 complex, is required for receptor-mediated endocytosis. However, its precise function remains unknown. Interestingly, Eps15 contains three EH (Eps15-Homology) domains also found in proteins required for the internalization step of endocytosis in yeast. Results presented here show that EH domains are required for correct coated pit targeting of Eps15. Furthermore, when cells expressed an Eps15 mutant lacking EH domains, the plasma membrane punctate distribution of both AP-2 and clathrin was lost, implying the absence of coated pits. This was further confirmed by the fact that dynamin, a GTPase found in coated pits, was homogeneously redistributed on the plasma membrane and that endocytosis of transferrin, a specific marker of clathrin-dependent endocytosis, was strongly inhibited. Altogether, these results strongly suggest a role for Eps15 in coated pit assembly and more precisely a role for Eps15 in the docking of AP-2 onto the plasma membrane. This hypothesis is supported by the fact that a GFP fusion protein encoding the ear domain of (alpha)-adaptin, the AP-2 binding site for Eps15, was efficiently targeted to plasma membrane coated pits.

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