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Mechanical stiffness of reconstituted actin patches correlates tightly with endocytosis efficiency

Jessica Planade*, Reda Belbahri*, Micaela Boiero Sanders, Audrey Guillotin, Olivia du Roure#, Alphée Michelot#, Julien Heuvingh#

PLoS Biology 2019. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000500

Clathrin-mediated endocytosis involves the sequential assembly of more than 60 proteins at the plasma membrane. An important fraction of these proteins regulates the assembly of an actin-related protein 2/3 (Arp2/3)-branched actin network, which is essential to generate the force during membrane invagination. We performed, on wild-type (WT) yeast and mutant strains lacking putative actin crosslinkers, a side-by-side comparison of in vivo endocytic phenotypes and in vitro rigidity measurements of reconstituted actin patches. We found a clear correlation between softer actin networks and a decreased efficiency of endocytosis. Our observations support a chain-of-consequences model in which loss of actin crosslinking softens Arp2/3-branched actin networks, directly limiting the transmission of the force. Additionally, the lifetime of failed endocytic patches increases, leading to a larger number of patches and a reduced pool of polymerizable actin, which slows down actin assembly and further impairs endocytosis.