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Exp Cell Res. 1995 Feb;216(2):290-8.

Involvement of early and late lysosomes in the degradation of mannosylated ligands by rat liver endothelial cells.

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Division of Molecular Cell Biology, Institute of Biology, Oslo, Norway.


The intracellular transport and degradation of endocytosed mannosylated albumin (Man-BSA) was studied in cell cultures of rat liver endothelial cells by subcellular fractionation, fluorescence microscopy, and electron microscopy. The ligand used for subcellular fractionation experiments was labeled with 125I-labeled tyramine cellobiose or 131I-labeled tyramine cellobiose. The labeled degradation products are trapped in the degradative compartments and may therefore serve as markers for these compartments. Cell fractionation was performed using Nycodenz gradients. The cell fractionation experiments demonstrated that the ligand sequentially occupied three compartments of increasing density. After 15 min it was mainly found in large cisternal organelles that banded in the gradient at about 1.09 g/ml. These organelles were rab5 positive and showed a peripher distribution in the fluorescence microscope. Degradation of ligand started after 30-60 min and this coincided with its transfer to a electron lucent vesicle with a density of 1.12 g/ml. After > 1 h, degradation products started to accumulate in perinuclear, electron-dense lysosomes that banded in the gradient at 1.15 g/ml. The density distribution of lysosomal beta-acetylglucosaminidase coincided with the densest organelle. The results obtained show that the degradation of ligand takes place sequentially in two types of lysosomes. The early lysosome is an electronlucent vesicle of low density, whereas the terminal lysosome is an electron-dense organelle with higher density and a more perinuclear distribution. The main degradation of the ligand takes place in the early lysosome. The transfer of ligand and degradation products from the early to the late lysosome is slow. Texas red-labeled ovalbumin (OVA) coincided with lysosomes labeled with OVA-Bodipy 24 h in advance only after 4-6 h.

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