A two-tier Golgi-based control of organelle size underpins the functional plasticity of endothelial cells

Dev Cell. 2014 May 12;29(3):292-304. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2014.03.021. Epub 2014 May 1.


Weibel-Palade bodies (WPBs), endothelial-specific secretory granules that are central to primary hemostasis and inflammation, occur in dimensions ranging between 0.5 and 5 μm. How their size is determined and whether it has a functional relevance are at present unknown. Here, we provide evidence for a dual role of the Golgi apparatus in controlling the size of these secretory carriers. At the ministack level, cisternae constrain the size of nanostructures ("quanta") of von Willebrand factor (vWF), the main WPB cargo. The ribbon architecture of the Golgi then allows copackaging of a variable number of vWF quanta within the continuous lumen of the trans-Golgi network, thereby generating organelles of different sizes. Reducing the WPB size abates endothelial cell hemostatic function by drastically diminishing platelet recruitment, but, strikingly, the inflammatory response (the endothelial capacity to engage leukocytes) is unaltered. Size can thus confer functional plasticity to an organelle by differentially affecting its activities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Autoantigens / genetics
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Golgi Matrix Proteins
  • Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Nocodazole / pharmacology
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Tubulin Modulators / pharmacology
  • Weibel-Palade Bodies / genetics
  • Weibel-Palade Bodies / physiology*
  • trans-Golgi Network / metabolism*
  • von Willebrand Factor / physiology*


  • Autoantigens
  • GORASP2 protein, human
  • Golgi Matrix Proteins
  • Golgin subfamily A member 2
  • Membrane Proteins
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Tubulin Modulators
  • macrogolgin
  • von Willebrand Factor
  • Nocodazole