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J Biol Chem. 2001 May 25;276(21):18507-12. Epub 2001 Feb 27.

Flotillin-1-enriched lipid raft domains accumulate on maturing phagosomes.

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  • 1Département de Pathologie et Biologie Cellulaire, Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, Succ. Centre ville, Montréal, QC, Canada.


Flotillin-1 was recently shown to be enriched on detergent-resistant domains of the plasma membrane called lipid rafts. These rafts, enriched in sphingolipids and cholesterol, sequester certain proteins while excluding others. Lipid rafts have been implicated in numerous cellular processes including signal transduction, membrane trafficking, and molecular sorting. In this study, we demonstrate both morphologically and biochemically that lipid rafts are present on phagosomes. These structures are enriched in flotillin-1 and devoid of the main phagosomes membrane protein lysosomal-associated membrane protein (LAMP1). The flotillin-1 present on phagosomes does not originate from the plasma membrane during phagocytosis but accumulates gradually on maturing phagosomes. Treatment with bafilomycin A1, a compound that inhibits the proton pump ATPase and prevents the fusion of phagosomes with late endocytic organelles, prevents the acquisition of flotillin-1 by phagosomes, indicating that this protein might be recruited on phagosomes from endosomal organelles. A proteomic characterization of the lipid rafts of phagosomes indicates that actin, the alpha- and beta-subunits of heterotrimeric G proteins, as well as subunits of the proton pump V-ATPase are among the constituents of these domains. Remarkably, the intracellular parasite Leishmania donovani can actively inhibit the acquisition of flotillin-1-enriched lipid rafts by phagosomes and the maturation of these organelles. These results indicate that specialized functions required for phagolysosome biogenesis may occur at focal points on the phagosome membrane, and therefore represent a potential target of intracellular pathogens.

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