Hypothesis review: are clathrin-mediated endocytosis and clathrin-dependent membrane and protein trafficking core pathophysiological processes in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder?

Clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) is the best-characterized mechanism governing cellular membrane and protein trafficking. In this hypothesis review, we integrate recent evidence implicating CME and related cellular trafficking mechanisms in the pathophysiology of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The evidence includes proteomic and genomic findings implicating proteins and genes of the clathrin interactome. Additionally, several important candidate genes for schizophrenia, such as dysbindin, are involved in processes closely linked to CME and membrane trafficking. We discuss that key aspects of psychosis neuropathology such as synaptic dysfunction, white matter changes and aberrant neurodevelopment are all influenced by clathrin-dependent processes, and that other cellular trafficking mechanisms previously linked to psychoses interact with the clathrin interactome in important ways. Furthermore, many antipsychotic drugs have been shown to affect clathrin-interacting proteins. We propose that the targeted pharmacological manipulation of the clathrin interactome may offer fruitful opportunities for novel treatments of schizophrenia.