Vesicle Size Regulates Nanotube Formation in the Cell

Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Scientific Reports, 2016, 6 pp. 24002 - 24002
Issue Date:
2016-04-07
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Intracellular membrane nanotube formation and its dynamics play important roles for cargo transportation and organelle biogenesis. Regarding the regulation mechanisms, while much attention has been paid on the lipid composition and its associated protein molecules, effects of the vesicle size has not been studied in the cell. Giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) are often used for in vitro membrane deformation studies, but they are much larger than most intracellular vesicles and the in vitro studies also lack physiological relevance. Here, we use lysosomes and autolysosomes, whose sizes range between 100 nm and 1 μm, as model systems to study the size effects on nanotube formation both in vivo and in vitro. Single molecule observations indicate that driven by kinesin motors, small vesicles (100-200 nm) are mainly transported along the tracks while a remarkable portion of large vesicles (500-1000 nm) form nanotubes. This size effect is further confirmed by in vitro reconstitution assays on liposomes and purified lysosomes and autolysosomes. We also apply Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) to measure the initiation force for nanotube formation. These results suggest that the size-dependence may be one of the mechanisms for cells to regulate cellular processes involving membrane-deformation, such as the timing of tubulation-mediated vesicle recycling.
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