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Mol Biol Cell. 2000 May;11(5):1829-43.

The tetraspanin CD63/lamp3 cycles between endocytic and secretory compartments in human endothelial cells.

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Department of Biochemistry, Sciences II, University of Geneva, 1211-Geneva-4, Switzerland.


In the present study, we show that in human endothelial cells the tetraspanin CD63/lamp3 distributes predominantly to the internal membranes of multivesicular-multilamellar late endosomes, which contain the unique lipid lysobisphosphatidic acid. Some CD63/lamp3 is also present in Weibel-Palade bodies, the characteristic secretory organelle of these cells. We find that CD63/lamp3 molecules can be transported from late endosomes to Weibel-Palade bodies and thus that CD63/lamp3 cycles between endocytic and biosynthetic compartments; however, movement of CD63/lamp3 is much slower than that of P-selectin, which is known to cycle between plasma membrane and Weibel-Palade bodies. When cells are treated with U18666A, a drug that mimics the Niemann-Pick type C syndrome, both proteins accumulate in late endosomes and fail to reach Weibel-Palade bodies efficiently, suggesting that P-selectin, like CD63/lamp3, cycles via late endosomes. Our data suggest that CD63/lamp3 partitions preferentially within late endosome internal membranes, thus causing its accumulation, and that this mechanism contributes to CD63/lamp3 retention in late endosomes; however, our data also indicate that the protein can eventually escape from these internal membranes and recycle toward Weibel-Palade bodies to be reused. Our observations thus uncover the existence of a selective trafficking route from late endosomes to Weibel-Palade bodies.

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