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Cell Struct Funct. 2006;31(2):145-57. Epub 2006 Dec 5.

Effect of 3-methyladenine on the fusion process of macropinosomes in EGF-stimulated A431 cells.

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Department of Histology and Cell Biology, School of Medicine, Kagawa University, Miki, Kagawa 761-0793, Japan.


In the process of receptor-mediated endocytosis, the fusion of endosomes in vitro is known to be inhibited by wortmannin or LY294002; inhibitors of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), suggesting that the activity of PI3K is required for the fusion of early endosomes. In macropinocytosis, a process of bulk fluid-phase endocytosis, however, it remains unclear whether PI3K is required for the fusion of macropinosomes, since the macropinosome formation is inhibited by the PI3K inhibitors. In this study, we examined the effect of 3-methlyadenine (3-MA), which shows a distinct specificity to the PI3K classes from wortmannin and LY294002, on the macropinosome formation and fusion in EGF-stimulated A431 cells. Unlike wortmannin or LY294002, 3-MA did not inhibit the uptake of fluorescent dextran by macropinocytosis. However, the fusion of macropinosomes was inhibited by 3-MA. By imaging of live-cells expressing fluorescent protein-fused tandem FYVE domains, we found that PtdIns(3)P appeared on the macropinosomal membrane shortly after the closure of macropinocytic cups and remained on macropinosomes even at 60-min age. The production of PtdIns(3)P and the recruitment of EEA1 to macropinosomes were abolished by the 3-MA treatment. Therefore, it is likely that 3-MA impairs recruitment of EEA1 by inhibiting PtdIns(3)P production and resultantly blocks the fusion of macropinosomes. These results suggest that the local production of PtdIns(3)P implicates the fusion of macropinosomes via EEA1 as well as conventional early endosomes. However, the long association of PtdIns(3)P with macropinosomes may well be a cell-type specific feature of A431 cells.

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