A non-exchangeable fluorescent phospholipid analog as a membrane traffic marker of the endocytic pathway

Willem, J., ter Beest, M., Scherphof, G. & Hoekstra, D., Oct-1990, In : European Journal of Cell Biology. 53, 1, p. 173-84 12 p.

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The fluorescent phospholipid analog N-(lissamine rhodamine B sulfonyl)phosphatidylethanolamine (N-Rh-PE) was inserted into the plasma membrane of Baby hamster kidney cells at low temperature (2 degrees C). The mobility characteristics of the analog--as revealed by fluorescence photobleaching recovery--were very similar to those of membrane-inserted 1-acyl-2[6-[N-(7-nitro-2,1,3-benzoxadiazol-4-yl) amino]caproyl] phosphatidylcholine (C6-NBD-PC). Upon warming to 37 degrees C, followed by a 1-h incubation, all N-Rh-PE was located intracellularly. By contrast, after the same time interval, approximately 10% of the cell-associated PC-derivative was found intracellularly. Furthermore, the analogs moved to different intracellular sites, as N-Rh-PE associates with perinuclear and peri-Golgi structures, whereas C6-NBD-PC appears mainly in the Golgi complex. Colocalization with organelle-specific probes and Percoll gradient analysis identified the N-Rh-PE-labeled structures as lysosomes. Temperature and energy-dependent experiments supported the endocytic pathway as the mechanism of N-Rh-PE internalization. The mechanism of N-Rh-PE internalization appears to differ from that of C6-NBD-PC. In conjunction with a difference in the efficiency of removal of the lipid derivatives from the plasma membrane, the results suggest that N-Rh-PE is selectively internalized, implying that sorting of the lipid analogs already occurs at the level of the plasma membrane. The distinct difference in physical appearance of the probes after membrane insertion, i.e., N-Rh-PE being present as small clusters and C6-NBD-PC as monomers, could explain the selective sorting and internalization of N-Rh-PE. The results demonstrate that N-Rh-PE may serve as a useful marker for studying membrane traffic during endocytosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-84
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Cell Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct-1990


  • Animals, Cell Line, Cell Membrane, Cricetinae, Endocytosis, Fluorescent Dyes, Kidney, Kinetics, Microscopy, Fluorescence, Phosphatidylethanolamines, Rhodamines, Temperature

ID: 14866906