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J Cell Sci. 2005 Nov 15;118(Pt 22):5243-55. Epub 2005 Oct 25.

Distribution and dynamics of Lamp1-containing endocytic organelles in fibroblasts deficient in BLOC-3.

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Department of Human Genetics, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


Late endosomes and lysosomes of mammalian cells in interphase tend to concentrate in the perinuclear region that harbors the microtubule-organizing center. We have previously reported abnormal distribution of these organelles - as judged by reduced percentages of cells displaying pronounced perinuclear accumulation - in mutant fibroblasts lacking BLOC-3 (for ;biogenesis of lysosome-related organelles complex 3'). BLOC-3 is a protein complex that contains the products of the genes mutated in Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome types 1 and 4. Here, we developed a method based on image analysis to estimate the extent of organelle clustering in the perinuclear region of cultured cells. Using this method, we corroborated that the perinuclear clustering of late endocytic organelles containing Lamp1 (for ;lysosome-associated membrane protein 1') is reduced in BLOC-3-deficient murine fibroblasts, and found that it is apparently normal in fibroblasts deficient in BLOC-1 or BLOC-2, which are another two protein complexes associated with Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome. Wild-type and mutant fibroblasts were transfected to express human LAMP1 fused at its cytoplasmic tail to green fluorescence protein (GFP). At low expression levels, LAMP1-GFP was targeted correctly to late endocytic organelles in both wild-type and mutant cells. High levels of LAMP1-GFP overexpression elicited aberrant aggregation of late endocytic organelles, a phenomenon that probably involved formation of anti-parallel dimers of LAMP1-GFP as it was not observed in cells expressing comparable levels of a non-dimerizing mutant variant, LAMP1-mGFP. To test whether BLOC-3 plays a role in the movement of late endocytic organelles, time-lapse fluorescence microscopy experiments were performed using live cells expressing low levels of LAMP1-GFP or LAMP1-mGFP. Although active movement of late endocytic organelles was observed in both wild-type and mutant fibroblasts, quantitative analyses revealed a relatively lower frequency of microtubule-dependent movement events, either towards or away from the perinuclear region, within BLOC-3-deficient cells. By contrast, neither the duration nor the speed of these microtubule-dependent events seemed to be affected by the lack of BLOC-3 function. These results suggest that BLOC-3 function is required, directly or indirectly, for optimal attachment of late endocytic organelles to microtubule-dependent motors.

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