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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the author’s final published version in Journal of Cell Science, Volume 132, Issue 10, May 2019, Article number jcs224030.

The published version is available at Copyright © The Company of Biologists Ltd.


Clathrin heavy chain is the structural component of the clathrin triskelion, but unique functions for the two distinct and highly conserved clathrin light chains (CLCa and CLCb, also known as CLTA and CLTB, respectively) have been elusive. Here, we show that following detachment and replating, CLCa is uniquely responsible for promoting efficient cell spreading and migration. Selective depletion of CLCa, but not of CLCb, reduced the initial phase of isotropic spreading of HeLa, H1299 and HEK293 cells by 60-80% compared to siRNA controls, and wound closure and motility by ∼50%. Surface levels of β1-integrins were unaffected by CLCa depletion. However, CLCa was required for effective targeting of FAK (also known as PTK2) and paxillin to the adherent surface of spreading cells, for integrin-mediated activation of Src, FAK and paxillin, and for maturation of focal adhesions, but not their microtubule-based turnover. Depletion of CLCa also blocked the interaction of clathrin with the nucleation-promoting factor WAVE complex, and altered actin distribution. Furthermore, preferential recruitment of CLCa to budding protrusions was also observed. These results comprise the first identification of CLCa-specific functions, with implications for normal and neoplastic integrin-based signaling and cell migration.

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