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Exp Cell Res. 2005 May 15;306(1):142-9. Epub 2005 Mar 23.

Possible role of deep tubular invaginations of the plasma membrane in MHC-I trafficking.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology and The CBR Institute for Biomedical Research, Harvard Medical School, 200 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Tubules and vesicles are membrane carriers involved in traffic along the endocytic and secretory routes. The small GTPase Arf6 regulates a recycling branch of short dynamic tubular intermediates used by major histocompatibility class I (MHC-I) molecules to traffic through vesicles between endosomes and the plasma membrane. We observed that Arf6 also affects a second network of very long and stable tubules containing MHC-I, many of which correspond to deep invaginations of the plasma membrane. Treatment with wortmannin, an inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate kinase, prevents formation of the short dynamic tubules while increasing the number of the long and very stable ones. Expression of NefAAAA, a mutant form of HIV Nef, increases the number of cells containing the stable tubules, and is used here as a tool to facilitate their study. Photoactivation of NefAAAA-PA-GFP demonstrates that this molecule traffics from endosomes to the tubules. Finally, live-cell imaging also shows internalization of MHC-I molecules into these tubules, suggesting that this is an additional route for MHC-I traffic.

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