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Anat Rec. 1995 Apr;241(4):519-28.

Shape, F-actin, and surface morphology changes during chemotactic peptide-induced polarity in human neutrophils.

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Departamento de Biología Celular e Histología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Granada, Spain.



The exposure of human neutrophils to uniform concentrations of chemoattractants, such as N-formyl peptides, induces morphological cell polarization. In this study we report the temporal sequence of changes in cell shape, F-actin, and cell surface morphology during cellular polarization induced by N-formylmethionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (fMLP) in human neutrophils in suspension.


Neutrophil shape changes induced by 10(-8) M fMLP were observed with DIC microscopy. Size and cellular granularity were analyzed by flow cytometry measuring their forward and side scattered light. To visualize F-actin distribution, neutrophils were labeled with the fluorescence probe FITC-phalloidin, and were examined with fluorescence and confocal laser scanning microscopy. Cell surface morphology was assessed with scanning electron microscopy (SEM).


The stimulation of round-smooth neutrophils with nanomolar concentrations (10(-8) M) of fMLP in suspension induced a temporal sequence of morphological changes during cell polarization, characterized by 1) increase in size as determined by forward angle scattered light, 2) rapid redistribution of F-actin from a diffuse cytoplasmic localization to the cell periphery, and 3) rapid reorganization of cell surface morphological features, with accumulation of plasma membrane in the front of polar cells. Four cell shapes were identified with SEM after stimulation of round-smooth neutrophils: round-ridged, round-ruffled, nonpolar ruffled, and polar cells. These cell shapes were correlated with a cortical localization, focal aggregates, and multipolar distribution of F-actin. In polar neutrophils, F-actin became concentrated in the front of the cell.


These findings show the relation between reorganization of the microfilamentous cytoskeleton and modifications in cell shape and surface features during cell polarization induced after fMLP activation in neutrophils. This approach offers a powerful tool for further analysis of receptor distribution in polarized, motile neutrophils.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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