The extent of exocytosis of pinocytic vesicle contents was studied in suspension-cultured Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells using horseradish peroxidase (HRP) as a pinocytic content marker. HRP was shown to be internalized via fluid-phase pinocytosis in CHO cells. After an HRP pulse of 2.5-10 min a rapid decrease of 30-50% in cell-associated HRP activity was observed within 10-20 min at 37 degrees C. During this time the loss of cell-associated HRP was accompanied by an equivalent increase in extracellular HRP. After this rapid exocytosis of HRP, the remaining peroxidase activity decreased with a t1/2 of 6-8 h, the known lysosomal half-life of HRP. In pulse-chase experiments HRP was chased into a nonexocytic compartment. Based on cell fractionation and electron microscopic experiments, this nonexocytic compartment was identified as a lysosome and the compartment from which exocytosis occurs as a pinosome. The occurrence of pinocytic content exocytosis in cultured fibroblasts suggests that exocytosis of pinocytic vesicle contents is a general phenomenon.

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