Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Membrane Cholesterol Removal Changes Mechanical Properties of Cells and Induces Secretion of a Specific Pool of Lysosomes

Barbara Hissa, Bruno Pontes, Paula Magda S. Roma, Ana Paula Alves, Carolina D. Rocha, Thalita M. Valverde, Pedro Henrique N. Aguiar, Fernando P. Almeida, Allan J. Guimarães, Cristina Guatimosim, Aristóbolo M. Silva, Maria C. Fernandes, Norma W. Andrews, Nathan B. Viana, Oscar N. Mesquita, Ubirajara Agero, Luciana O. Andrade

In a previous study we had shown that membrane cholesterol removal induced unregulated lysosomal exocytosis events leading to the depletion of lysosomes located at cell periphery. However, the mechanism by which cholesterol triggered these exocytic events had not been uncovered. In this study we investigated the importance of cholesterol in controlling mechanical properties of cells and its connection with lysosomal exocytosis. Tether extraction with optical tweezers and defocusing microscopy were used to assess cell dynamics in mouse fibroblasts. These assays showed that bending modulus and surface tension increased when cholesterol was extracted from fibroblasts plasma membrane upon incubation with MβCD, and that the membrane-cytoskeleton relaxation time increased at the beginning of MβCD treatment and decreased at the end. We also showed for the first time that the amplitude of membrane-cytoskeleton fluctuation decreased during cholesterol sequestration, showing that these cells become stiffer. These changes in membrane dynamics involved not only rearrangement of the actin cytoskeleton, but also de novo actin polymerization and stress fiber formation through Rho activation. We found that these mechanical changes observed after cholesterol sequestration were involved in triggering lysosomal exocytosis. Exocytosis occurred even in the absence of the lysosomal calcium sensor synaptotagmin VII, and was associated with actin polymerization induced by MβCD. Notably, exocytosis triggered by cholesterol removal led to the secretion of a unique population of lysosomes, different from the pool mobilized by actin depolymerizing drugs such as Latrunculin-A. These data support the existence of at least two different pools of lysosomes with different exocytosis dynamics, one of which is directly mobilized for plasma membrane fusion after cholesterol removal.

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