A complete understanding of the molecular mechanisms of endocytosis requires the discovery and characterization of the protein machinery that mediates this aspect of membrane trafficking. A novel genetic screen was used to identify yeast mutants defective in internalization of bulk lipid. The fluorescent lipophilic styryl dye FM4-64 was used in conjunction with FACS to enrich for yeast mutants that exhibit internalization defects. Detailed characterization of two of these mutants, dim1-1 and dim2-1, revealed defects in the endocytic pathway. Like other yeast endocytosis mutants, the temperature-sensitive dim mutant were unable to endocytose FM4-64 or radiolabeled alpha-factor as efficiently as wild-type cells. In addition, double mutants with either dim1-delta or dim2-1 and the endocytosis mutants end4-1 or act1-1 displayed synthetic growth defects, indicating that the DIM gene products function in a common or parallel endocytic pathway. Complementation cloning of the DIM genes revealed identity of DIM1 to SHE4 and DIM2 to PAN1. Pan1p shares homology with the mammalian clathrin adaptor-associated protein, eps15. Both proteins contain multiple EH (eps15 homology) domains, a motif proposed to mediate protein-protein interactions. Phalloidin labeling of filamentous actin revealed profound defects in the actin cytoskeleton in both dim mutants. EM analysis revealed that the dim mutants accumulate vesicles and tubulo-vesicular structures reminiscent of mammalian early endosomes. In addition, the accumulation of novel plasma membrane invaginations where endocytosis is likely to occur were visualized in the mutants by electron microscopy using cationized ferritin as a marker for the endocytic pathway. This new screening strategy demonstrates a role for She4p and Pan1p in endocytosis, and provides a new general method for the identification of additional endocytosis mutants.

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