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Mol Biol Cell. 2001 Apr;12(4):981-95.

Identification of discrete classes of endosome-derived small vesicles as a major cellular pool for recycling membrane proteins.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition, University of California, San Francisco 94143, USA.


Vesicles carrying recycling plasma membrane proteins from early endosomes have not yet been characterized. Using Chinese hamster ovary cells transfected with the facilitative glucose transporter, GLUT4, we identified two classes of discrete, yet similarly sized, small vesicles that are derived from early endosomes. We refer to these postendosomal vesicles as endocytic small vesicles or ESVs. One class of ESVs contains a sizable fraction of the pool of the transferrin receptor, and the other contains 40% of the total cellular pool of GLUT4 and is enriched in the insulin-responsive aminopeptidase (IRAP). The ESVs contain cellubrevin and Rab4 but are lacking other early endosomal markers, such as EEA1 or syntaxin13. The ATP-, temperature-, and cytosol-dependent formation of ESVs has been reconstituted in vitro from endosomal membranes. Guanosine 5'-[gamma-thio]triphosphate and neomycin, but not brefeldin A, inhibit budding of the ESVs in vitro. A monoclonal antibody recognizing the GLUT4 cytoplasmic tail perturbs the in vitro targeting of GLUT4 to the ESVs without interfering with the incorporation of IRAP or TfR. We suggest that cytosolic proteins mediate the incorporation of recycling membrane proteins into discrete populations of ESVs that serve as carrier vesicles to store and then transport the cargo from early endosomes, either directly or indirectly, to the cell surface.

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