The regulation of exocytosis in the pancreatic acinar cell

Cell Signal. 2002 Mar;14(3):191-7. doi: 10.1016/s0898-6568(01)00257-1.


The pancreatic acinar cell synthesises a variety of digestive enzymes. In transit through the secretory pathway, these enzymes are separated from constitutively secreted proteins and packaged into zymogen granules, which are localised in the apical pole of the cell. Stimulation of the cell by secretagogues such as acetylcholine and cholecystokinin, acting at receptors on the basolateral plasma membrane, causes the generation of an intracellular Ca(2+) signal. This signal, in turn, triggers the fusion of the zymogen granules with the apical plasma membrane, leading to the polarised secretion of the enzymes. This review describes recent advances in our understanding of the control of secretion in the acinar cell. In particular, we discuss the mechanisms underlying the sorting of digestive enzymes into the zymogen granules, the molecular components of the exocytotic "membrane fusion machine," the generation and propagation of the Ca(2+ signal and the development of new techniques for the visualisation of single granule fusion events.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium Signaling
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Exocytosis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Fusion
  • Pancreas / cytology
  • Pancreas / metabolism*