PROSITE documentation PDOC00196
Clathrin light chains signatures


Clathrin [1,2] is the major coat-forming protein that encloses vesicles such as coated pits and forms cell surface patches involved in membrane traffic within eukaryotic cells. The clathrin coats (called triskelions) are composed of three heavy chains (180 Kd) and three light chains (23 to 27 Kd).

The clathrin light chains [3], which may help to properly orient the assembly and disassembly of the clathrin coats, bind non-covalently to the heavy chain, they also bind calcium and interact with the hsc70 uncoating ATPase.

  • In higher eukaryotes two genes code for distinct but related light chains: LC(a) and LC(b). Each of the two genes can yield, by tissue-specific alternative splicing, two separate forms which differ by the insertion of a sequence of respectively thirty or eighteen residues. There is, in the N- terminal part of the clathrin light chains a domain of twenty one amino acid residues which is perfectly conserved in LC(a) and LC(b).
  • In yeast there is a single light chain (gene CLC1) whose sequence is only distantly related to that of higher eukaryotes.

We developed two signature patterns for clathrin light chains. The first pattern is a heptapeptide from the center of the conserved N-terminal region of eukaryotic light chains; the second pattern is derived from a positively charged region located in the C-terminal extremity of all known clathrin light chains.

Last update:

December 2004 / Patterns and text revised.


Technical section

PROSITE methods (with tools and information) covered by this documentation:

CLATHRIN_LIGHT_CHN_1, PS00224; Clathrin light chain signature 1  (PATTERN)

CLATHRIN_LIGHT_CHN_2, PS00581; Clathrin light chain signature 2  (PATTERN)


1AuthorsKeen J.H.
TitleClathrin and associated assembly and disassembly proteins.
SourceAnnu. Rev. Biochem. 59:415-438(1990).
PubMed ID1973890

2AuthorsBrodsky F.M.
TitleLiving with clathrin: its role in intracellular membrane traffic.
SourceScience 242:1396-1402(1988).
PubMed ID2904698

3AuthorsBrodsky F.M. Hill B.L. Acton S.L. Nathke I. Wong D.H. Ponnambalam S. Parham P.
TitleClathrin light chains: arrays of protein motifs that regulate coated-vesicle dynamics.
SourceTrends Biochem. Sci. 16:208-213(1991).
PubMed ID1909824

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