AP-2 complex-mediated endocytosis of Drosophila Crumbs regulates polarity via antagonizing Stardust

Ya-Huei Lin, Heather Currinn, Shirin Meher Pocha, Alice Rothnie, Thomas Wassmer, Elisabeth Knust*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Maintenance of epithelial polarity depends on the correct localization and levels of polarity determinants. The evolutionarily conserved transmembrane protein Crumbs is crucial for the size and identity of the apical membrane, yet little is known about the molecular mechanisms controlling the amount of Crumbs at the surface. Here, we show that Crumbs levels on the apical membrane depend on a well-balanced state of endocytosis and stabilization. The adaptor protein 2 (AP-2) complex binds to a motif in the cytoplasmic tail of Crumbs that overlaps with the binding site of Stardust, a protein known to stabilize Crumbs on the surface. Preventing endocytosis by mutations in AP-2 causes expansion of the Crumbs-positive plasma membrane and polarity defects, which can be partially rescued by removing one copy of crumbs. Strikingly, knocking-down both AP-2 and Stardust retains Crumbs on the membrane. This study provides evidence for a molecular mechanism, based on stabilization and endocytosis, to adjust surface levels of Crumbs, which are essential for maintaining epithelial polarity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4538-4549
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number24
Early online date2 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding: Max-Planck Society; BBSRC (BB/K014862/1); and Dresden International Graduate School for Biomedicine and Bioengineering (DIGS-BB).

Supplementary information available online at http://jcs.biologists.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1242/jcs.174573/-/DC1


  • AP-2 complex
  • crumbs
  • Eendocytosis
  • epithelial polarity
  • PDZ-binding
  • stardust


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