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Cell Mol Biol Lett. 2003;8(4):1035-45.

Cellular organelle transport and positioning by plasma streaming.

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Department of Cell Biology, University of Nijmegen, Toernooiveld 1, 6525 ED Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Our analysis of known data reveals that translocations of passively movable cellular organelles from tiny granules up to large cell nuclei can be ascribed to transport by streaming cytoplasm. The various behaviours, such as velocity changes during more or less interrupted movements, forth and back shuttling and particle rotation result from different types of plasma circulation. Fast movements over long distances, as observed in the large characean internodial cells occur in strong streams generated by myosin in bundles of actin filaments in the direction of the barbed filament ends. Slow movements with frequent reversions of the direction are typical for neuronal axons, in which an anterograde plasma flow, produced in a thin layer of membrane-attached actin filaments, is compensated by a retrograde stream, produced by dynein activity in the central bundle of microtubules. Here particle rotation is due to steep flow velocity gradients, and frequent changes of particle movements result from minor particle displacements in radial directions. Similar shuttling of pigment granules in the lobes of epidermal chromatophores results from the same mechanism, whereby the centrifugal movement along astral microtubules is due to flow generated by excess of kinesin activity and the centripetal movement to the plasma recycling through the intermicrotubular space. If the streaming pattern is reversed by switching to excess dynein activity, the moving granules are trapped in the high microtubule density at the aster center. The presence of larger bodies in asters disturbs the regular, kinesin-dependent microtubule distribution in such a way that a superimposed centrifugal plasma flow develops in the microtubule-dense layer along them, which is recycled in the microtubule-free space, created by their presence. Consequently, at excess kinesin activity, nuclei, mitochondria as well as chromosome fragments move towards the aster center until they reach a dynamically stabilized position that depends on the local microtubule density. These various behaviours are not rationally explainable by models based on a mechanical stepping along microtubules or actin filaments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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