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Non-coated membrane invaginations are involved in binding and internalization of cholera and tetanus toxins

Nature volume 296, pages 651653 (15 April 1982) | Download Citation

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Abstract

The binding of various biologically significant macromolecules to specific cell surface receptors is followed by their internalization, a process called receptor-mediated endocytosis1,2. In most cases, it has been shown that receptor-bound ligands cluster in characteristic, bristle-coated indentations of the cell surface known as coated pits1–3. In addition to coated pits, cultured cells have a population of smaller, non-coated membrane invaginations4–6, which may have a role in endocytosis2,7. However, no receptor-bound biologically active ligand has been shown to enter cells via these non-coated invaginations. The studies implicating coated pits in receptor-mediated endocytosis concern essentially ligands that bind to receptors thought to be glycoproteins. We have therefore investigated by electron microscopy the endocytosis of cholera toxin and tetanus toxin, ligands which bind to membrane glycolipids, in particular to either GM1 monosialoganglioside8–11 or di- and trisialogangliosides12–15 respectively. We show here that in cultured liver cells, non-coated membrane microinvaginations are preferentially involved in both the initial binding and subsequent internalization of colloidal gold-labelled cholera and tetanus toxin.

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Affiliations

  1. Institute of Histology and Embryology, University of Geneva Medical School, CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland

    • R. Montesano
    • , J. Roth
    • , A. Robert
    •  & L. Orci

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https://doi.org/10.1038/296651a0

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