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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1991 Aug 5;1067(1):71-80.

Visualization of exocytotic secretory processes of mast cells by fluorescence techniques.

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Mitsubishi-Kasei Institute of Life Sciences, Tokyo, Japan.


Secretory processes via exocytosis in rat peritoneal mast cells were visualized by two complementary fluorescence techniques; one staining pre-exocytotic granules with a basic probe and the other staining post-exocytotic granules with acidic probes. Granules within mast cells were selectively stained with acridine orange and emitted orange yellow fluorescence. Upon stimulation with compound 48/80, release of acridine orange from granules was observed both in population and single cell measurements. This release was seen in some localized area of mast cells. Opening of pores between plasma membranes and granule membranes was monitored using acidic fluorescence probes such as 6-carboxyfluorescein or lucifer yellow CH. Not only granules located at peripheral region, but also granules near the core region participated in exocytosis. The existence of junctions between these granules was suggested. TMA-DPH, a lipophilic membrane probe, which was localized at plasma membrane before stimulation, diffused into granule membranes after stimulation. This shows that after stimulation, some constituents of plasma and granule membranes were mixed. Even after extensive degranulation, mast cells extruded acidic probes, indicating the plasma membranes still play a role of barrier. Activation of lateral motion of granules preceding to exocytosis was not observed. It was concluded that the visualization of secretory processes by fluorescence and image processing techniques will be useful for the study of molecular mechanisms underlying exocytosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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