Morphologic demonstration of clathrin-coated pits in frog and turkey erythrocytes.
We have examined nucleated erythrocytes of frog and turkey for the presence of clathrin-coated structures using electron microscopy and immunocytochemistry. By electron microscopy, coated pits were found on the plasma membrane of peripheral blood erythrocytes of both species. These structures had an appearance similar to coated pits seen in non-erythroid mammalian cells. Using immunofluorescence with anti-(bovine) clathrin antibody, erythrocytes of both species showed punctate membrane fluorescence similar to the pattern of coated pits seen in other cells. By both methods, frog erythrocytes showed considerable heterogeneity, such that only about 50% of the cells showed significant numbers of coated pits, usually fewer than 20-50 per cell. In contrast, the vast majority of turkey erythrocytes showed no detectable coated pits, but occasional cells (less than 10%) showed large numbers of coated structures. These results suggest that a functional endocytic system may be present in a subpopulation of these nucleated erythrocytes. These findings may be of significance in understanding the ligand-induced loss of some receptors from the surface of these cells, and may serve as an indication of morphologic differentiation.
Willingham, MC; Strader, CD; Lefkowitz, RJ; Pastan, I
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