Evidence for polarization of plasma membrane domains in pancreatic endocrine cells

Nature. 1985 Feb 21-27;313(6004):694-6. doi: 10.1038/313694a0.


Polarization of plasma membrane domains is an essential feature of secretory epithelial cells from exocrine glands. The surface of exocrine cells (a typical example is the acinar cell of the pancreas) is separated into an apical domain, where secretion occurs by exocytosis, and a basolateral domain, which senses variations of the internal milieu and is enriched with receptors for various hormones and secretagogues. It is unknown whether secretion is polarized in endocrine cells (except for thyroid follicular cells, which are organized into cavitary structures). To determine whether distinct plasma membrane domains exist in endocrine cells, we infected monolayer cultures of pancreatic endocrine cells with enveloped RNA viruses known to bud selectively from either the apical or basolateral domain in polarized epithelial cells. This asymmetrical budding is thought to reflect the polarized nature of the infected cells, as in non-polarized cells such as fibroblasts, the same viruses bud nonselectively from the entire cell surface. We show here that influenza virus and vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) emerge asymmetrically from cultured pancreatic islet cells; this represents the first evidence for polarization of plasma membrane domains in pancreatic endocrine cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Compartmentation
  • Cell Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Islets of Langerhans / cytology
  • Islets of Langerhans / ultrastructure*
  • Morphogenesis
  • Orthomyxoviridae / ultrastructure
  • Rats
  • Vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus / ultrastructure
  • Virus Replication