Listen To A Shape Polyhedral Apartment

A Tiny Packaging Attendant In The Cell

RESIDENTS:A tiny packaging attendant in the cell

“Cryo-EM of multiple cage architectures reveals a universal mode of clathrin self-assembly”

Morris et al., Nature Structural Molecular Biology 26: 890-898 (2019)


Eukaryotic cells have a unique logistics called membrane trafficking, in which various molecules are transported via vesicles. Clathrin is a structural protein, which plays an important role in formation of vesicles. Clathrin complex (triskelion) in a shape of triple spirals radiating from the center (corresponds to a 3-deg vertex with edges) is a construction unit of cage-like structures. Self-assembly of clathrin occurs on the membrane surface as it coats the vesicle being pinched off from the membrane. Many clathrin cages resemble fullerene structures (3-deg, 5-gon and 6-gon). In this paper, some of clathrin cages termed “mini-coat”, “sweet potato”, “barrel”, “tennis ball”, and “big apple” were characterized by cryo-electron microscopy, providing insights into how clathrin forms a variety of cages with different sizes and shapes. Picked up here are the “tennis ball” C36:14 D2d and the “barrel” C36:15 D6h, naturally observed clathrin cages that belong to C36 fullerene structures. Although there are 15 different shapes for C36 fullerene structures, these two are the favorable shapes for self-assembly as shown by a theoretical study based on geometry (Schein and Sands-Kidner, (2008) Biophysical Journal 94: 958-976).

ROOM NO.:V36[336]F20[51268]

C36 fullerene structure C36:14 D2d and C36:15 D6h

These are the 14th and 15th isomers of C36 fullerene structures. It has 36 vertices (3-deg x36) and 20 faces (5-gon x12 and 6-gon x8). C36:14 D2d is like a ball which may bounce irregularly in playing tennis. It has a 2-fold rotation axis, and, by standing it upright, the upper and lower parts look twisted. It has antiprism-like symmetry. C36:15 D6h is like a hexagonally angulated barrel. It has a 6-fold rotation axis, and, by standing it upright, the upper and lower parts look the same. It has prism-like symmetry.

Polyhedral Apartment

Have you ever visit an apartment of polyhedra?...

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