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PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e26626. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026626. Epub 2011 Oct 24.

Endo-lysosomal vesicles positive for Rab7 and LAMP1 are terminal vesicles for the transport of dextran.

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School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America.


The endo-lysosomal pathway is essential for intracellular transport and the degradation of extracellular cargo. The relationship between three populations of endo-lysosomal vesicles--Rab7-positive, LAMP1-positive, and both Rab7- and LAMP1-postive--was probed with fluorescence microscopy and single particle tracking. Of specific interest was determining if these vesicles were intermediate or terminal vesicles in the transport of extracellular cargo. We find that the major organelle in the endo-lysosomal pathway, both in terms of population and cargo transport, is positive for Rab7 and LAMP1. Dextran, a fluid phase cargo, shifts from localization within all three populations of vesicles at 30 minutes and 1 hour to primarily LAMP1- and Rab7/LAMP1-vesicles at longer times. This demonstrates that LAMP1- and Rab7/LAMP1-vesicles are terminal vesicles in the endo-lysosomal pathway. We tested two possible mechanisms for this distribution of cargo, delivery to mannose 6-phosphate receptor (M6PR)-negative vesicles and the fusion dynamics of individual vesicles. We find no correlation with M6PR but do find that Rab7-vesicles undergo significantly fewer fusion events than LAMP1- or Rab7/LAMP1-vesicles suggesting that the distribution of fluid phase cargo is driven by vesicle dynamics.

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