Convergence of apical and basolateral endocytic pathways for β2- microglobulin in LLC-PK1 cells

M. Cohen, D. P. Sundin, R. Dahl, B. A. Molitoris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Polarized epithelial cells internalize molecules from both apical and basolateral (BL) plasma membrane (PM) domains via receptor-mediated endocytosis. In the kidney, low-molecular-weight proteins (LMWP) are internalized across the apical membrane of proximal tubule cells and degraded in lysosomes. Although indirect evidence suggests some uptake may occur at the BL surface, in vivo studies performed in rats suggest little if any LMWP uptake occurs at the BL surface. The studies presented here showed that native human β2-microglobulin (β2M) was internalized across the apical surface and followed the same intracellular pathway in the proximal tubule- derived cell line LLC-PK1 as that described in vivo. Either 125I- or gold-labeled β2M (125I-β2M and gold-β2M) bound specifically and reversibly to the apical surface of confluent LLC-PK1 cells. These results were qualitatively similar to previously documented in vivo results. Subsequently, using gold-β2M and LLC-PK1 cells grown on porous supports, we showed that a functional uptake system for the LMWP β2M was present at the BL surface. Finally, using different-size gold particles conjugated to β2M applied simultaneously to the apical and BL surfaces, we observed that apical and BL endocytic routes converged in multivesicular acid phosphatase- negative endosomal structures. Taken together, these data imply that β2M can be internalized across both apical and BL domains and that the two pathways converge at a multivesicular level within the endosomal pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F829-F838
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology
Issue number5 37-5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • adsorptive endocytosis
  • clathrin-coated pits
  • gold labeling
  • low-molecular-weight protein uptake
  • plasma membrane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

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