Phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate is generated in phagosomal membranes

Curr Biol. 2001 Oct 16;11(20):1631-5. doi: 10.1016/s0960-9822(01)00447-x.


Phagocytic cells such as neutrophils and macrophages engulf and destroy invading microorganisms. After internalization, material captured within the phagosomal membrane is destroyed by a complex process of coordinated delivery of digestive enzymes and reactive oxygen species. Several endosomal, lysosomal, and oxidase components expected to participate in these events have recently been shown to bind PtdIns3P, suggesting that this lipid may play a role in this process. We used live, digital fluorescence imaging of RAW 264.7 cells stably expressing either a PtdIns3P binding GFP-PX domain or a GFP-FYVE domain to visualize changes in the levels and subcellular localization of PtdIns3P during phagocytic uptake of IgG-opsonized zymosan particles. Very similar results were obtained using both PtdIns3P probes. The basal distribution of each PtdIns3P probe was partially cytosolic and partially localized to EEA-1-positive endosomal structures. Within about 2-3 min of zymosan attachment and concomitant with the closure of the phagosomal membrane, GFP-positive vesicles moved toward and attached to a localized area of the phagosome. A dramatic, transient accumulation of GFP probe around the entire phagosome rapidly ensued, accompanied by a transient drop in cytosolic GFP fluorescence. The magnitude and timing of this rise in PtdIns3P clearly suggest that it is an ideal candidate for controlling the early stages of phagosomal maturation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Cell Line / cytology
  • Fluorescent Dyes / analysis
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism*
  • Luminescent Proteins / analysis
  • Macrophages / cytology
  • Membrane Proteins / analysis
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Phagosomes / metabolism*
  • Phosphatidylinositol Phosphates / biosynthesis*
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins
  • Zymosan / pharmacokinetics


  • Biomarkers
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Phosphatidylinositol Phosphates
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins
  • early endosome antigen 1
  • phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Zymosan