The use of permeabilized cells to study the ion requirements of receptor-ligand dissociation in endosomes.

R. Diaz*, T. E. Wileman, S. J. Anderson, P. Stahl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The mannose receptor mediates the transport of high-mannose glycoproteins from the cell surface to lysosomes in macrophages. The binding of ligand to the receptor is dependent on both pH and Ca2+. Upon internalization, ligands enter an acidic pre-lysosomal compartment where receptor-ligand dissociation takes place. Acidification is driven by an endosomal proton pump and anion transport is coupled to this acidification step. A permeabilized-cell assay has been designed to characterize the ionic requirements for receptor-ligand dissociation in endosomes. The plasma membrane of macrophages has been permeabilized selectively with digitonin without affecting endosomal membranes. Receptor-ligand dissociation in permeabilized cells required ATP and was blocked by proton ionophores. Di-isothiocyanostilbene-disulphonic acid and N-ethylmaleimide also blocked dissociation, but mitochondrial ATPase inhibitors and vanadate were ineffective. To explore the nature of the anion requirement for acidification, the ability of different anions to compensate for Cl- was tested. For the halide series, Br- was as equally effective as Cl- in supporting receptor-ligand dissociation, but I- was inhibitory. Citrate and gluconate were only partially effective, while SO4(2-), NO3- and PO4(2-) blocked dissociation. Addition of Ca2+ to permeabilized-cell preparations impaired ATP-dependent dissociation without affecting endosome acidification. These results suggest that the endosomal membrane has a Ca2+ conductance that would permit the rapid efflux of Ca2+ from endosomes during acidification, and this would appear to be a necessary step for efficient sorting of Ca2+-dependent receptors from their ligands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-134
Number of pages8
JournalThe Biochemical journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 15 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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