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Mech Ageing Dev. 1986 Jun;35(1):79-94.

The autofluorescent "lipofuscin granules" in the intestinal cells of Caenorhabditis elegans are secondary lysosomes.


The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans contains autofluorescent lipofuscin granules, located exclusively in the 32-34 intestinal cells. Using epifluorescence microscopy on live adult animals, we have shown that fluorescent-labeled exogenous probes are taken up by endocytosis and accumulate within the granules. Macromolecular solutes such as proteins and dextran appear to be taken up by fluid-phase pinocytosis. There is no phagocytosis of latex particles with diameter greater than or equal to 0.25 micron. The granules concentrate the lysosomotropic weak base acridine orange, indicating that they have an acidic internal milieu. These observations imply that the lipofuscin granules in the intestinal cells are secondary lysosomes which remain active recipients of endocytosed materials.

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