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Mol Biol Cell. 2000 Jan;11(1):255-68.

Biogenesis of multilamellar bodies via autophagy.

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Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3C 3J7.


Transfection of Mv1Lu mink lung type II alveolar cells with beta1-6-N-acetylglucosaminyl transferase V is associated with the expression of large lysosomal vacuoles, which are immunofluorescently labeled for the lysosomal glycoprotein lysosomal-associated membrane protein-2 and the beta1-6-branched N-glycan-specific lectin phaseolis vulgaris leucoagglutinin. By electron microscopy, the vacuoles present the morphology of multilamellar bodies (MLBs). Treatment of the cells with the lysosomal protease inhibitor leupeptin results in the progressive transformation of the MLBs into electron-dense autophagic vacuoles and eventual disappearance of MLBs after 4 d of treatment. Heterologous structures containing both membrane lamellae and peripheral electron-dense regions appear 15 h after leupeptin addition and are indicative of ongoing lysosome-MLB fusion. Leupeptin washout is associated with the formation after 24 and 48 h of single or multiple foci of lamellae within the autophagic vacuoles, which give rise to MLBs after 72 h. Treatment with 3-methyladenine, an inhibitor of autophagic sequestration, results in the significantly reduced expression of multilamellar bodies and the accumulation of inclusion bodies resembling nascent or immature autophagic vacuoles. Scrape-loaded cytoplasmic FITC-dextran is incorporated into lysosomal-associated membrane protein-2-positive MLBs, and this process is inhibited by 3-methyladenine, demonstrating that active autophagy is involved in MLB formation. Our results indicate that selective resistance to lysosomal degradation within the autophagic vacuole results in the formation of a microenvironment propicious for the formation of membrane lamella.

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