Send to

Choose Destination
Science. 2004 Feb 13;303(5660):1007-10.

Nanotubular highways for intercellular organelle transport.

Author information

Interdisciplinary Center of Neuroscience (IZN), Institute of Neurobiology, University of Heidelberg, INF 364, Heidelberg 69120, Germany.


Cell-to-cell communication is a crucial prerequisite for the development and maintenance of multicellular organisms. To date, diverse mechanisms of intercellular exchange of information have been documented, including chemical synapses, gap junctions, and plasmodesmata. Here, we describe highly sensitive nanotubular structures formed de novo between cells that create complex networks. These structures facilitate the selective transfer of membrane vesicles and organelles but seem to impede the flow of small molecules. Accordingly, we propose a novel biological principle of cell-to-cell interaction based on membrane continuity and intercellular transfer of organelles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center