To examine the possible role of the cytoskeleton in exocytosis of Weibel-Palade bodies (WPBs), we used double immunofluorescence and electron microscopy to study the spatial relationships between WPBs and main cytoskeletal elements in endothelial cells treated with secretagogue, such as thrombin, or cytoskeleton-damaging agents. Unexpectedly, we have found that WPBs undergo rapid translocation towards the centrosome both in cells treated with thrombin and in those treated with cytochalasin B or calyculin A. Typically, 3 or 5 min after agent addition compact cluster of WPBs became visible near the microtubule-organizing center (MTOC) in most endothelial cells in which a fivefold increase in WPBs localized in close proximity to the mother centriole had been detected. In both thrombin- and cytochalasin-treated cells that exhibit a noticeable depletion in WPBs compared to control cells, WPBs located at the cell periphery were found to colocalize with vimentin intermediate filaments, but not with microtubules. In contrast, there was precise colocalization observed between WPBs and microtubules in calyculin-treated cells in which all WPBs undergo centrosome-directed translocation within 15 min after the agent addition. When vimentin filaments were induced to collapse to a perinuclear location by the microtubule-disrupting agent demecolcine, WPBs also translocated to the perinuclear region, where numerous WPBs were found to be localized within the bundles of intermediate-sized filaments. The data provide the first direct evidence that secretory granules utilize microtubule-based transport system to move in retrograde direction, i.e., away from the plasma membrane, towards the centrosome. We suggest that anterograde movement of WPBs is primarily dependent on their interaction with vimentin intermediate filaments.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.