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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1984 Jan;81(1):175-9.

Morphologic characterization of the pathway of transferrin endocytosis and recycling in human KB cells.


The pathway of transferrin uptake and recycling was investigated in KB cells to attempt to identify the organelles involved in the return of transferrin to the cell surface. Comparison was made with the pathway of internalization of epidermal growth factor (EGF), which has been shown to terminate in lysosomes. A horseradish peroxidase conjugate of transferrin (TF-HRP) was incubated with KB and at 4 degrees C and, at various times after warming to 37 degrees C, the location of TF-HRP was examined at the electron microscopic level. Transferrin, like EGF, was found to enter cells via coated pits and to move to the Golgi region in receptosomes (endosomes). Transferrin was located in the tubular elements of the transreticular portion of the Golgi but not in Golgi stacks. Interestingly, transferrin was not concentrated in the coated pits of the Golgi. In contrast, EGF was highly concentrated there. Transferrin was next detected in tubular elements (approximately equal to 600 A in width and up to 5,000 A in length) that were closely associated with microtubules and in dumbbell-shaped structures. In contrast, EGF was not detected in these structures. These results suggest that those organelles containing transferrin, but not EGF, participate in the return of receptor-bound transferrin to the cell surface.

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