A role for small GTPase RhoA in regulating intracellular membrane traffic of lysosomes in invasive rat hepatoma cells

Yukio Nishimura, Kazuyuki Itoh, Kiyoko Yoshioka, Kazuhiko Ikeda, Masaru Himeno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Small GTPase RhoA regulates signal transduction from receptors in the membrane to a variety of cellular events related to cell morphology, motility, cytoskeletal dynamics, cytokinesis, and tumour progression, but it is unclear how RhoA regulates intracellular membrane dynamics of lysosomes. We showed previously by confocal immunofluorescence microscopy that the transfection of dominant active RhoA in MM1 cells causes the dispersal translocation of lysosomes stained for cathepsin D throughout the cytoplasm. Y-27632, a selective inhibitor of p160ROCK, impeded the cellular redistribution of lysosomes and promoted reclustering of lysosomes toward the perinuclear region. Here we have further investigated whether the acidic lysosomal vesicles dispersed throughout the cytoplasm are applied to the early endosomes in the endocytic pathway, and we demonstrate that the dispersed lysosomes were accessible to endocytosed molecule such as dextran, and their acidity was not changed, as determined by increased accumulation of the acidotropic probe LysoTracker Red. Brefeldin A did not induce the tabulation of these dispersed lysosomes, but it caused early endosomes to form an extensive tubular network. The dispersed lysosomes associated with cathepsin D and LIMPII were not colocalized with early endosomes, and these vesicles were not inaccessible to the endocytosed anti-transferrin receptor antibody. Moreover, wortmannin, an inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, induced a dramatic change in LIMPII-containing structures in which LIMPII-positive swollen large vacuoles were increased and small punctate structures disappeared in the cytoplasm. These swollen vacuoles were not doubly positive for LIMPII and transferrin receptor, and were not inaccessible to the internalized anti-transferrin receptor antibody. Therefore, our novel findings presented in this paper indicate that RhoA activity causes a selective translocation of lysosomes without perturbing the machinery of endocytic pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-213
Number of pages25
JournalHistochemical Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy
  • Cell Biology


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