Dynamics of rab5 activation in endocytosis and phagocytosis Article

cited authors

  • Roberts, RL; Barbieri, MA; Ullrich, J; Stahl, PD

fiu authors


  • Fluid-phase endocytosis is stimulated by H-ras-linked growth factor receptors and this stimulation requires activation of rab5. We utilized a GFP-rab5a:wt fusion protein to monitor GFP-rab5a:wt activation in living fibroblasts and in J774 macrophages. Control CHO cells that expressed GFP-rab5a:wt were cultured in serum-free conditions and showed GFP-rab5a:wt localized to endosomal vesicles with a mean diameter of 0.3 ± 0.1 μm. Endosome fusion, membrane ruffling, and pinosome formarion were rarely detected in these cells. Coexpression of H-ras:G12V, a constitutively active H-ras mutant that activates rab5a, in cells resulted in marked enlargement of labeled endosomes (mean diameter 0.7 ± 0.2 μm) and large numbers of giant GFP-rab5a:wt-positive endosomes were present. Time-lapse recordings showed abundant fusion among giant labeled endosomes, and membrane ruffling and pinosome formation were commonly observed. Alterations in GFP-rab5a:wt endosome structure and activity in cells expressing H-ras:G12V were linked to rab5a activation because these changes were identical to those found in cells expressing GFP-rab5a:Q79L, a constitutively activated rab5a mutant. Furthermore, cells co-expressing H-ras:G12V and GFP-rab5a:S34N, an inactive rab5a mutant, exhibited no evidence of H-ras:G12V-induced endosome enlargement. To observe changes in endosome structure and activity that directly followed activation of GFP-rab5a:wt, we performed time-lapse recordings of cells cultured overnight in serum-free media after addition of EGF. EGF caused a rapid increase in endosome fusion and in membrane ruffling activity. Membrane ruffling was often associated with GFP-rab5a:wt-positive vesicle (pinosome) formation at the base of membrane ruffles. Endosome and pinosome fusion were common in EGF-stimulated cells. Phagocytosis is also regulated by GFP-rab5a:wt. J774 macrophages that expressed GFP-rab5a:wt showed transiently activation and recruitment of GFP-rab5a:wt to newly formed phagosomes that contained rhodamine-labeled Escherichia coli. These studies show that GFP-rab5a:wt activation results in dynamic alterations in the structure and activity of the early endosomal and early phagosomal elements.

publication date

  • November 18, 2000

start page

  • 627

end page

  • 632


  • 68


  • 5