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Eur J Cell Biol. 1990 Aug;52(2):219-28.

Modified lysosomal compartment as carrier of slowly and non-degradable tracers in macrophages.

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Unité de Microscopie Electronique, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.


A previous immunocytochemical study of macrophages infected with Bacillus subtilis showed that a cell wall antigen could be detected for several days in a population of small vesicles randomly distributed within the cells and apparently distinct from perinuclear lysosomes. These observations suggested the possibility that these vesicles might constitute a "storage" compartment for non-degradable compounds. In the present report we compared in pulse-chase experiments the location and fate of a series of degradable and non-degradable pinocytic tracers within the macrophages. The tracers, detected by fluorescent microscopy, were bovine serum albumin (BSA), hen egg ovalbumin (OVA), horseradish peroxidase (HRP). Lucifer Yellow, fluorescent dextran, and levan. BSA and OVA remained located in perinuclear lysosomes during the chase period until their disappearance occurring within 3 h. In contrast, the other tracers, although initially located in perinuclear lysosomes, were found after a 3 to 5-h chase in small vesicles homogeneously distributed in the macrophage cytoplasm where they remained visible for 2 to 3 days. The use of markers for different cell organelles indicated that these dispersed vesicles exhibited several of the lysosomal features. They were acidic, they contained the 100 kDa and the 120 kDa lysosomal proteins as well as some acid proteases albeit these markers were in lesser concentrations than in the perinuclear lysosomal compartment. The addition of bacteria to the macrophages previously loaded with fluorescent dextran showed that all dispersed vesicles have the same fusion property as lysosomes and that slowly degraded or non-degradable tracers turn over through the perinuclear lysosomal compartment by using the endocytic pathway. Measurement of the release of some of the tracers into the culture medium suggested that the "dispersed vesicles" were probably not implicated in exocytosis of the tracers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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