The mechanism by which flat hexagonal lattices of clathrin trimers transform into pentagonal/hexagonal spheres remains a mystery. In light of the geometrical nature of this process we have pursued a mathematical approach to the question. Through the geometrical analysis of flat hexagonal lattices we have discovered three possible forms of transformation to introduce curvature into the centre of the lattice: hub-centre transformation; hub-edge transformation; fringe transformation. Hub-edge and fringe transformations are used first to close the lattice while introducing localized curvature at the edges of the lattice. Hub-centre transformation is used after closure to relax the severely localized curvature generated during closure. This scheme not only maximizes the size of the coated vesicle generated, but also minimizes the number of transformations, thus minimizing the energy expended.

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