Browsing Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics: Faculty Research and Presentations by Subjects
Now showing items 1-2 of 2
Disruption-induced mucus secretion: repair and protection.When a cell suffers a plasma membrane disruption, extracellular Ca(2+) rapidly diffuses into its cytosol, triggering there local homotypic and exocytotic membrane fusion events. One role of this emergency exocytotic response is to promote cell survival: the internal membrane thus added to the plasma membrane acts as a reparative "patch." Another, unexplored consequence of disruption-induced exocytosis is secretion. Many of the cells lining the gastrointestinal tract secrete mucus via a compound exocytotic mechanism, and these and other epithelial cell types lining the digestive tract are normally subject to plasma membrane disruption injury in vivo. Here we show that plasma membrane disruption triggers a potent mucus secretory response from stomach mucous cells wounded in vitro by shear stress or by laser irradiation. This disruption-induced secretory response is Ca(2+) dependent, and coupled to cell resealing: disruption in the absence of Ca(2+) does not trigger mucus release, but results instead in cell death due to failure to reseal. Ca(2+)-dependent, disruption-induced mucus secretion and resealing were also demonstrable in segments of intact rat large intestine. We propose that, in addition to promoting cell survival of membrane disruptions, disruption-induced exocytosis serves also the important protective function of liberating lubricating mucus at sites of mechanical wear and tear. This mode of mechanotransduction can, we propose, explain how lubrication in the gastrointestinal tract is rapidly and precisely adjusted to widely fluctuating, diet-dependent levels of mechanical stress.
Lectin-based food poisoning: a new mechanism of protein toxicity.BACKGROUND: Ingestion of the lectins present in certain improperly cooked vegetables can result in acute GI tract distress, but the mechanism of toxicity is unknown. In vivo, gut epithelial cells are constantly exposed to mechanical and other stresses and consequently individual cells frequently experience plasma membrane disruptions. Repair of these cell surface disruptions allows the wounded cell to survive: failure results in necrotic cell death. Plasma membrane repair is mediated, in part, by an exocytotic event that adds a patch of internal membrane to the defect site. Lectins are known to inhibit exocytosis. We therefore tested the novel hypothesis that lectin toxicity is due to an inhibitory effect on plasma membrane repair. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Repair of plasma membrane disruptions and exocytosis of mucus was assessed after treatment of cultured cell models and excised segments of the GI tract with lectins. Plasma membrane disruptions were produced by focal irradiation of individual cells, using a microscope-based laser, or by mechanical abrasion of multiple cells, using a syringe needle. Repair was then assessed by monitoring the cytosolic penetration of dyes incapable of crossing the intact plasma membrane. We found that cell surface-bound lectins potently inhibited plasma membrane repair, and the exocytosis of mucus that normally accompanies the repair response. CONCLUSIONS: Lectins potently inhibit plasma membrane repair, and hence are toxic to wounded cells. This represents a novel form of protein-based toxicity, one that, we propose, is the basis of plant lectin food poisoning.