Induction of autophagy promotes fusion of multivesicular bodies with autophagic vacuoles in k562 cells

Traffic. 2008 Feb;9(2):230-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0854.2007.00677.x. Epub 2007 Dec 7.


Morphological and biochemical studies have shown that autophagosomes fuse with endosomes forming the so-called amphisomes, a prelysosomal hybrid organelle. In the present report, we have analyzed this process in K562 cells, an erythroleukemic cell line that generates multivesicular bodies (MVBs) and releases the internal vesicles known as exosomes into the extracellular medium. We have previously shown that in K562 cells, Rab11 decorates MVBs. Therefore, to study at the molecular level the interaction of MVBs with the autophagic pathway, we have examined by confocal microscopy the fate of MVBs in cells overexpressing green fluorescent protein (GFP)-Rab11 and the autophagosomal protein red fluorescent protein-light chain 3 (LC3). Autophagy inducers such as starvation or rapamycin caused an enlargement of the vacuoles decorated with GFP-Rab11 and a remarkable colocalization with LC3. This convergence was abrogated by a Rab11 dominant negative mutant, indicating that a functional Rab11 is involved in the interaction between MVBs and the autophagic pathway. Interestingly, we presented evidence that autophagy induction caused calcium accumulation in autophagic compartments. Furthermore, the convergence between the endosomal and the autophagic pathways was attenuated by the Ca2+ chelator acetoxymethyl ester (AM) of the calcium chelator 1,2-bis(o-aminophenoxy)ethane-N,N,N',N'-tetraacetic acid (BAPTA), indicating that fusion of MVBs with the autophagosome compartment is a calcium-dependent event. In addition, autophagy induction or overexpression of LC3 inhibited exosome release, suggesting that under conditions that stimulates autophagy, MVBs are directed to the autophagic pathway with consequent inhibition in exosome release.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / deficiency
  • Autophagy / drug effects
  • Autophagy / physiology*
  • Autophagy-Related Protein 12
  • Cadaverine / analogs & derivatives
  • Cadaverine / metabolism
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Chelating Agents / pharmacology
  • Culture Media, Serum-Free / pharmacology
  • Cytoplasmic Vesicles / drug effects
  • Cytoplasmic Vesicles / physiology*
  • Egtazic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Egtazic Acid / pharmacology
  • Exocytosis / drug effects
  • Exocytosis / physiology
  • HSC70 Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • HSC70 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • K562 Cells
  • Membrane Fusion / drug effects
  • Membrane Fusion / physiology*
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / genetics
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Monensin / pharmacology
  • Nocodazole / pharmacology
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Sirolimus / pharmacology
  • Small Ubiquitin-Related Modifier Proteins
  • Transfection
  • Vinblastine / pharmacology
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism


  • ATG12 protein, human
  • Amino Acids
  • Autophagy-Related Protein 12
  • Chelating Agents
  • Culture Media, Serum-Free
  • HSC70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • HSPA8 protein, human
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Proteins
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Small Ubiquitin-Related Modifier Proteins
  • light chain 3, human
  • 1,2-bis(2-aminophenoxy)ethane N,N,N',N'-tetraacetic acid acetoxymethyl ester
  • rab7 protein
  • Egtazic Acid
  • Vinblastine
  • Monensin
  • rab11 protein
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins
  • monodansylcadaverine
  • Cadaverine
  • Nocodazole
  • Calcium
  • Sirolimus