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Traffic. 2018 Dec;19(12):965-974. doi: 10.1111/tra.12614. Epub 2018 Sep 21.

Resolution of macropinosomes, phagosomes and autolysosomes: Osmotically driven shrinkage enables tubulation and vesiculation.

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Program in Cell Biology, Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Keenan Research Centre of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Department of Biochemistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Macropinosomes, phagosomes and autolysosomes are comparatively large, quasi-spherical organelles that play essential functions in immunity and homeostasis. These vacuolar organelles are relatively short-lived, promptly fragmenting into smaller structures. Vacuolar resolution is mediated by tubulation and vesiculation, processes orchestrated by protein complexes that are recruited to highly curved membranes. Importantly, the surface-to-volume ratios of the tubules and vesicles generated during the resolution process are considerably larger than that of the parental vacuole. Because membranes under high hydrostatic tension resist deformation, an active, concomitant loss of volume is required to sustain the resolution process and may even initiate tubulation and vesiculation. Despite its fundamental role in membrane remodeling, the mechanisms that account for organellar volume loss are poorly understood, but are likely to involve the export of solutes followed by osmotically obliged water. In this review, we describe the principles and possible mechanisms underlying the resolution of organelles, with particular attention paid to the osmolytes they contain and the pathways mediating their exit.


PtdIns(3,5)P2; autophagosomes; cation channel; macrophage; phagolysosome

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