The chromaffin granule as a model for membrane fusion: implications for exocytosis.


Journal Article

Rapid freeze/freeze-fracture and thin section electron micrographic studies of the Ca2+-promoted aggregation and fusion of isolated bovine adrenal medullary chromaffin granule membranes show that the granules undergo a series of morphological changes. The contact region becomes quite extensive and the membrane curvature changes radically at the edge of the contact site. The core material retracts away from the contact site leaving an electron lucent "stripe"; however, it remains adjacent to the membrane in the non-contact areas. The pentalaminar double membrane of the contact region often shows breaks. Close examination reveals that the two granule membranes have fused and become one continuous membrane. Rearrangement of large membrane associated particles (MAPs) can be seen by freeze fracture after Ca2+-promoted granule-granule contact. The broken pentalaminar septum becomes smaller and may break down into globular structures. These observations suggest a series of reactions in which the granules first form an encounter complex, then a stable complex. The membranes within the contact region undergo lateral displacement of the proteins and phase separations of the lipids, and then fuse. Analysis of the kinetics of turbidity and fluorescence changes during granule aggregation and fusion support the main postulates of the model. The initial events of aggregation are facilitated by putative recognition proteins and K+ will promote all activities except fusion. Recent observations that several soluble proteins (synexin, and albumin) will act as fusogens are discussed in terms of the relevance to exocytosis in vivo.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Morris, SJ; Costello, MJ; Robertson, JD; Südhof, TC; Odenwald, WF; Haynes, DH

Published Date

  • January 1, 1983

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 7 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 19 - 33

PubMed ID

  • 6841901

Pubmed Central ID

  • 6841901

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0165-1838

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/0165-1838(83)90066-8


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Netherlands