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Rule-based modelling provides an extendable framework for comparing candidate mechanisms underpinning clathrin polymerisation

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Original languageEnglish
Article number5658
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2018


Polymerisation of clathrin is a key process that underlies clathrin-mediated endocytosis. Clathrin-coated vesicles are responsible for cell internalization of external substances required for normal homeostasis and life –sustaining activity. There are several hypotheses describing formation of closed clathrin structures. According to one of the proposed mechanisms cage formation may start from a flat lattice buildup on the cellular membrane, which is later transformed into a curved structure. Creation of the curved surface requires rearrangement of the lattice, induced by additional molecular mechanisms. Different potential mechanisms require a modeling framework that can be easily modified to compare between them. We created an extendable rule-based model that describes polymerisation of clathrin molecules and various scenarios of cage formation. Using Global Sensitivity Analysis (GSA) we obtained parameter sets describing clathrin pentagon closure and the emergence/production and closure of large-size clathrin cages/vesicles. We were able to demonstrate that the model can reproduce budding of the clathrin cage from an initial flat array.

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