WAVE/SCAR promotes endocytosis and early endosome morphology in polarized C. elegans epithelia

Falshruti B. Patel, Martha Soto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Cells can use the force of actin polymerization to drive intracellular transport, but the role of actin in endocytosis is not clear. Studies in single-celled yeast demonstrate the essential role of the branched actin nucleator, Arp2/3, and its activating nucleation promoting factors (NPFs) in the process of invagination from the cell surface through endocytosis. However, some mammalian studies have disputed the need for F-actin and Arp2/3 in Clathrin-Mediated Endocytosis (CME) in multicellular organisms. We investigate the role of Arp2/3 during endocytosis in Caenorhabditis elegans, a multicellular organism with polarized epithelia. Arp2/3 and its NPF, WAVE/SCAR, are essential for C. elegans embryonic morphogenesis. We show that WAVE/SCAR and Arp2/3 regulate endocytosis and early endosome morphology in diverse tissues of C. elegans. Depletion of WAVE/SCAR or Arp2/3, but not of the NPF Wasp, severely disrupts the distribution of molecules proposed to be internalized via CME, and alters the subcellular enrichment of the early endosome regulator RAB-5. Loss of WAVE/SCAR or of the GEFs that regulate RAB-5 results in similar defects in endocytosis in the intestine and coelomocyte cells. This study in a multicellular organism supports an essential role for branched actin regulators in endocytosis, and identifies WAVE/SCAR as a key NPF that promotes Arp2/3 endocytic function in C. elegans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-332
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 15 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


  • Actin nucleation
  • Early endosomes
  • Endocytosis
  • Morphogenesis
  • Nucleation promoting factors

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