The GTPase dynamin is essential for clathrin-mediated endocytosis. Unlike most GTPases, dynamin has a low affinity for nucleotide, a high rate of GTP hydrolysis, and can self-assemble, forming higher order structures such as rings and spirals that exhibit up to 100-fold stimulated GTPase activity. The role(s) of GTP binding and/or hydrolysis in endocytosis remain unclear because mutations in the GTPase domain so far studied impair both. We generated a new series of GTPase domain mutants to probe the mechanism of GTP hydrolysis and to farther test the role of GTP binding and/or hydrolysis in endocytosis. Each of the mutations had parallel effects on assembly-stimulated and basal GTPase activities. In contrast to previous reports, we find that mutation of Thr-65 to Ala (or Asp or His) dramatically lowered both the rate of assembly-stimulated GTP hydrolysis and the affinity for GTP. The assembly-stimulated rate of hydrolysis was lowered by the mutation of Ser-61 to Asp and increased by the mutation of Thr-141 to Ala without significantly altering the Km for GTP. For some mutants and to a lesser extent for WT dynamin, self-assembly dramatically altered the Km for GTP, suggesting that conformational changes in the active site accompany self-assembly. Analysis of transferrin endocytosis rates in cells overespressing mutant dynamins revealed a stronger correlation with both the basal and assembly-stimulated rates of GTP hydrolysis than with the calculated ratio of dynamin-GTP/free dynamin, suggesting that GTP binding is not sufficient, and GTP hydrolysis is required for clathrin-mediated endocytosis in vivo.
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