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J Cell Biol. 1976 Mar 1; 68(3): 665–687.
PMCID: PMC2109655

Membrane flow during pinocytosis. A stereologic analysis


HRP has been used as a cytochemical marker for a sterelogic analysis of pinocytic vesicles and secondary lysosomes in cultivated macrophages and L cells. Evidence is presented that the diaminobenzidine technique (a) detects all vaculoes containing encyme and (b) distinguishes between incoming pinocytic vesicles and those which have fused with pre- existing lysosomes to form secondary lososomes. The HRP reactive pinocytic vesicle spaces fills completely within 5 min after exposure to enzyme, while the secondary lysosome compartment is saturated in 45-- 60 min. The size distribution of sectioned (profile) vaculoe diameters was measured at equilibrium and converted to actual (spherical) dimensions using a technique modified from Dr. S. D. Wicksell. The most important findings in this study have to do with the rate at which pinocytosed fluid and surface membrane move into the cell and on their subsequent fate. Each minute macrophages form at least 125 pinocytic vesicles having a fractional vol of 0.43% of the cell's volume and a fractional area of 3.1% of the cell's surface area. The fractional volume and surface area flux rates for L cells were 0.05% and 0.8% per minute respectively. Macrophages and L cells thus interiorize the equivalent of their cell surface area every 33 and 125 min. During a 3- period, the size of the secondary lysosome compartment remains constant and represents 2.5% of the cell volume and 18% of the surface area. Each hour, therefore, the volume and surface area of incoming vesicles is 10 times greater than the dimensions of the secondary lysosomes in both macrophages and L cells. This implies a rapid reduction in vesicle size during the formation of the secondary lysosome and the egress of pinocytosed fluid from the vacuole and the cell. In addition, we postulate that membrane components of the vacuole are subsequently recycled back to the cell surface.

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Selected References

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