Publication Date


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Academic Program

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program


Program in Molecular Medicine

First Thesis Advisor

Silvia Corvera, M.D.


Endocytosis, Clathrin, Epidermal Growth Factor, Transferrin, Neoplams, Signal Transduction


Endocytosis is important for the regulation of signal transduction and for the movement of essential cellular components from outside the cell to their appropriate intracellular compartment(s). Two established mechanisms of endocytosis are clathrinmediated (CME) and clathrin-independent endocytosis, and they are responsible for internalization of different ligands. In this study, the newly established technique of total internal reflection fluorescent microscopy (TIRF-M) was used, along with standard biochemical and molecular biological tools, to systematically study the sorting and early trafficking of two established ligands of endocytosis, transferrin (Tf) and epidermal growth factor (EGF).

TIRF-M studies revealed that Tf binds its receptor that is located in large clathrin arrays positioned just below the surface of the cell and that these large clathrin platforms serves as the major site of CME at the plasma membrane. EGF endocytosis is very different and occurs as follows 1) the liganded EGFR recruits Rab5 to the plasma membrane, 2) Rab5 concentrates around vesicles containing liganded EGFR and 3) these vesicles co-localize with EEA1 enriched endosomes. EEA1 was shown to play a pivotal role in EGF endocytosis, establishing a new role for EEA1 in vesicle trafficking in addition to its role in tethering and fusion. Finally, WDFY2, a new FYVE domain protein was shown to decorate a specific subset of vesicles, upstream of the EEA1 vesicle pool that appear to participate in Tf endocytosis. These studies establish new functions and components of endocytosis that enhances our understanding of this complex process.



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