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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Establishment of plasma membrane polarity in mammary epithelial cells correlates with changes in prolactin trafficking and in annexin VI recruitment to membranes.

Mammary epithelial cells (MEC) of lactating animals ferry large amounts of milk constituents in vesicular structures which have mostly been characterized by morphological approaches (Ollivier-Bousquet, 1998). Recently, we have shown that under conditions of lipid deprivation, perturbed prolactin traffic paralleled changes in the membrane phospholipid composition and in the cytosol versus membrane distribution of annexin VI (Ollivier-Bousquet et al., 1997). To obtain additional information on the membrane events involved in the vesicular transport of the hormone to the apical pole of the cell, we conducted a biochemical study on prolactin-containing vesicles in MEC at two different stages of differentiation. We first showed that MEC of pregnant and lactating rabbits exhibited membrane characteristics of non-polarized and polarized cells respectively, using annexin IV and the alpha-6 subunit of integrin as membrane markers. Incubation of both cell types with biotinylated prolactin for 1 h at 15 degrees C, followed by a 10-min chase at 37 degrees C revealed that prolactin transport was activated upon MEC membrane polarization. This was confirmed by subcellular fractionation of prolactin-containing vesicles on discontinuous density gradients. In non-polarized MEC, (125)I-prolactin was mainly recovered in gradient fractions enriched with endocytotic vesicles either after incubation at 15 degrees C or after a 10-min chase at 37 degrees C. In contrast, in polarized MEC, the hormone switched from endocytotic compartments to a fraction enriched in exocytotic clathrin-coated vesicles during the 10-min chase at 37 degrees C. Association of annexin VI to prolactin carriers was next studied in both non-polarized and polarized cells. Membrane compartments collected at each gradient interface were solubilized under mild conditions by Triton X-100 (TX100) and the distribution of annexin VI in TX100-insoluble and TX100-soluble fractions was analyzed by Western blotting. Upon MEC polarization, the amount of annexin VI recovered in TX100-insoluble fractions changed. Quite interestingly, it increased in a membrane fraction enriched with endocytotic clathrin-coated vesicles, suggesting that annexin VI may act as a sorting signal in prolactin transport.[1]


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