Energy transfer assays of rat renal cortical endosomal fusion: evidence for superfusion.
The complex of components necessary to allow endosomal fusion includes both membrane-bound receptors and several soluble proteins. Although these factors have been isolated from cultured cell lines, and endosomal fusion has been reconstituted in vitro for vesicular systems from yeast to synaptosomes, there is a paucity of data from mammalian systems. To investigate fusion in rat renal cortical endosomes, we began by developing a fusion assay. As the immunoglobulin and avidin-based probes almost universally employed in fusion assays are excluded by the glomerular ultrafiltration barrier, it was necessary to begin by finding ultrafilterable probes which could serve as a fusion assay. We labeled the apical endosomal pathway of the renal proximal tubule by intravenous infusion of ultrafilterable fluorescent dextrans. Energy transfer from entrapped fluorescein-dextran to rhodamine-dextran had a narrow concentration dependence but allowed fluorometric assay of endosomal fusion. The "spectroscopic ruler" property of energy transfer, whereby it will only occur at < 60 A, makes fusion measurements unequivocal. The energy transfer efficiency of fluorometric (48 +/- 1%) and flow cytometry (57 +/- 1%) assays were close to the theoretical optimum (57%). Energy transfer is detected as a decrease in fluorescence of the fluorescein donor and an increase in fluorescence of the rhodamine acceptor. Our endosomal fusion assay was utilized to determine the optimal conditions for fusion of rat renal cortical light endosomes and heavy endosomes. Independent measurements of fluorescein-dextran and rhodamine-dextran on an endosome-by-endosome basis using dual-beam two-color flow cytometry demonstrated that each fusion event involves multiple endosomes rather than a single pair of endosomes. Electron microscopy analysis demonstrated that the average vesicle diameter was five times larger in the fused heavy endosomal fractions compared with control fractions without fusion. Hence, fusion of mammalian renal cortical endosomes reconstituted in vitro is consistent with multiple fusion events dubbed superfusion.
Hammond, TG; Majewski, RR; Muse, KE; Oberley, TD; Morrissey, LW; Amendt-Raduege, AM
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