Indirect immunofluorescence labeling of normal rat kidney (NRK) cells with antibodies recognizing a lysosomal glycoprotein (LGP 120; Lewis, V., S.A. Green, M. Marsh, P. Vihko, A. Helenius, and I. Mellman, 1985, J. Cell Biol., 100:1839-1847) reveals that lysosomes accumulate in the region around the microtubule-organizing center (MTOC). This clustering of lysosomes depends on microtubules. When the interphase microtubules are depolymerized by treatment of the cells with nocodazole or during mitosis, the lysosomes disperse throughout the cytoplasm. Lysosomes recluster rapidly (within 30-60 min) in the region of the centrosomes either upon removal of the drug, or, in telophase, when repolymerization of interphase microtubules has occurred. During this translocation process the lysosomes can be found aligned along centrosomal microtubules. Endosomes and lysosomes can be visualized by incubating living cells with acridine orange. We have analyzed the movement of these labeled endocytic organelles in vivo by video-enhanced fluorescence microscopy. Translocation of endosomes and lysosomes occurs along linear tracks (up to 10 microns long) by discontinuous saltations (with velocities of up to 2.5 microns/s). Organelles move bidirectionally with respect to the MTOC. This movement ceases when microtubules are depolymerized by treatment of the cells with nocodazole. After nocodazole washout and microtubule repolymerization, the translocation and reclustering of fluorescent organelles predominantly occurs in a unidirectional manner towards the area of the MTOC. Organelle movement remains unaffected when cells are treated with cytochalasin D, or when the collapse of intermediate filaments is induced by microinjected monoclonal antivimentin antibodies. It can be concluded that translocation of endosomes and lysosomes occurs along microtubules and is independent of the intermediate filament and microfilament networks.

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