Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2003 May 1;23(5):755-61. Epub 2003 Apr 3.

Real-time imaging of the dynamics and secretory behavior of Weibel-Palade bodies.

Author information

Department of Plasma Proteins, Sanquin Research at CLB, Plesmanlaan 125, 1066 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Weibel-Palade bodies (WPBs) are specialized secretory granules found in endothelial cells. These vesicles store hormones, enzymes, and receptors and exhibit regulated exocytosis on cellular stimulation. Here we have directly visualized intracellular trafficking and the secretory behavior of WPBs in living cells by using a hybrid protein consisting of von Willebrand factor (vWF), a prominent WPB constituent, and green fluorescent protein (GFP).


Immunofluorescence microscopy demonstrated that this chimera was targeted into WPBs. In resting cells, some WPBs seemed motionless, whereas others moved at low speed in a stochastic manner. On stimulation of cells with [Ca2+]i- or cAMP-raising secretagogues, membrane-apposed patches were formed, suggesting fusion of WPBs with the plasma membrane. Patches remained visible for >20 minutes. This sustained, membrane-associated retention of vWF might play a role in focal adhesion of blood constituents to the endothelium after vascular injury. In addition, stimulation with cAMP-raising agonists resulted in clustering of a subset of WPBs in the perinuclear region of the cell. Apparently, these WPBs escaped secretion. This feature might provide a mechanism to control regulated exocytosis.


In conclusion, the fusion protein vWF-GFP provides a powerful tool to study, in real time, signal-mediated trafficking of WPBs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center