Apiconuclear organization of microtubules does not specify protein delivery from the trans-Golgi Network to different membrane domains in polarized epithelial cells

Kent K. Grindstaff, Robert L. Bacallao, W. James Nelson

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In nonpolarized epithelial cells, microtubules originate from a broad perinuclear region coincident with the distribution of the Golgi complex and extend outward to the cell periphery (perinuclear [PN] organization). During development of epithelial cell polarity, microtubules reorganize to form long cortical filaments parallel to the lateral membrane, a meshwork of randomly oriented short filaments beneath the apical membrane, and short filaments at the base of the cell; the Golgi becomes localized above the nucleus in the subapical membrane cytoplasm (apiconuclear [AN] organization). The AN-type organization of microtubules is thought to be specialized in polarized epithelial cells to facilitate vesicle trafficking between the trans-Golgi Network (TGN) and the plasma membrane. We describe two clones of MDCK cells, which have different microtubule distributions: clone II/G cells, which gradually reorganize a PN-type distribution of microtubules and the Golgi complex to an AN-type during development of polarity, and clone II/J cells which maintain a PN-type organization. Both cell clones, however, exhibit identical steady-state polarity of apical and basolateral proteins. During development of cell surface polarity, both clones rapidly establish direct targeting pathways for newly synthesized gp80 and gp135/170, and E-cadherin between the TGN and apical and basolateral membrane, respectively; this occurs before development of the AN-type microtubule/Golgi organization in clone II/G cells. Exposure of both clone II/G and II/J cells to low temperature and nocodazole disrupts >99% of microtubules, resulting in: 1) 25-50% decrease in delivery of newly synthesized gp135/170 and E-cadherin to the apical and basolateral membrane, respectively, in both clone II/G and II/J cells, but with little or no missorting to the opposite membrane domain during all stages of polarity development; 2) ~40% decrease in delivery of newly synthesized gp80 to the apical membrane with significant missorting to the basolateral membrane in newly established cultures of clone II/G and II/J cells; and 3) variable and nonspecific delivery of newly synthesized gp80 to both membrane domains in fully polarized cultures. These results define several classes of proteins that differ in their dependence on intact microtubules for efficient and specific targeting between the Golgi and plasma membrane domains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)685-699
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular Biology of the Cell
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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