The endocytic fate of the transferrin receptor is regulated by c-Abl kinase

Hong Cao, Barbara Schroeder, Jing Chen, Micah B. Schott, Mark A. McNiven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Clathrin-mediated endocytosis of transferrin (Tf) and its cognate receptor (TfR1) is a central pathway supporting the uptake of trophic iron. It has generally been assumed that this is a constitutive process. However, we have reported that the non-receptor tyrosine kinase, Src, is activated by Tf to facilitate the internalization of the Tf-TfR1 ligand-receptor complex. As an extension of these findings, we have tested whether subsequent trafficking steps might be regulated by additional kinase-dependent cascades, and we observed a significant endocytic block by inhibiting c-Abl kinase by a variety of methods. Importantly, Tf internalization was reduced significantly in all of these cell models and could be restored by re-expression of WT c-Abl. Surprisingly, this attenuated Tf-TfR1 endocytosis was due to a substantial drop in both the surface and total cellular receptor levels. Additional studies with the LDL receptor showed a similar effect. Surprisingly, immunofluorescence microscopy of imatinib-treated cells revealed a marked colocalization of internalized TfR1 with late endosomes/lysosomes, whereas attenuating the lysosome function with several inhibitors reduced this receptor loss. Importantly, inhibition of c-Abl resulted in a striking redistribution of the chaperone Hsc70 from a diffuse cytosolic localization to an association with the TfR1 at the late endosome-lysosome. Pharmacological inhibition of Hsc70 ATPase activity in cultured cells by the drug VER155008 prevents this chaperone-receptor interaction, resulting in an accumulation of the TfR1 in the early endosome. Thus, inhibition of c-Abl minimizes receptor recycling pathways and results in chaperone-dependent trafficking of the TfR1 to the lysosome for degradation. These findings implicate a novel role for c-Abl and Hsc70 as an unexpected regulator of Hsc70-mediated transport of trophic receptor cargo between the early and late endosomal compartments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16424-16437
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number32
StatePublished - Aug 5 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'The endocytic fate of the transferrin receptor is regulated by c-Abl kinase'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this