Structural visualization of the endocytic TPLATE complex

01 January 2019 → 31 December 2022
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Microbiology
    • Systems biology
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Laboratory medicine
    • Microbiology
    • Laboratory medicine
    • Laboratory medicine
    • Microbiology
Project description

Cells are confined by their plasma membrane (PM) which separates their content from the outside
world. Communication between cells and the outside occurs via proteins in the PM. If one compares
a cell to a house, the proteins in the cell’s PM would be the doors and windows. Doors represent
channels which can exchange molecules, such as nutrients, whereas windows represent receptors
(antennas) that allow to monitor the outside world. In order to control communication, the cell
requires to exchange doors and windows. Physical removal of proteins from the PM is termed
endocytosis and works via adaptor protein complexes. Binding of the adaptor protein complexes to
the PM proteins leads to formation of a cage around them and finally to pinching off of part of the
PM containing the proteins. In plants, two adaptor protein complexes (the TPLATE complex (TPC)
and the adaptor protein complex 2 (AP-2)) work together to secure proper endocytosis. Whereas
AP-2 is used by various model organisms, plants appear the only system that has evolutionary
retained an essential role for TPC in endocytosis. TPC consists of eight proteins and the goal of this
project is to reveal how these eight proteins interact. We will do this by combining structural
modelling with state-of-the art proteomics approaches. Finally, we will visualize TPC associated to
purified internalized vesicles at the electron microscopy level and we will fit the model of the
complex into the observed microscopy images.