Potassium-depleted fibroblasts are unable to develop polarized morphology and lack coated pits. Experiments were carried out to measure internalization of fibronectin receptors (FNR) in potassium-depleted cells and possible association of FNR with AP-2 complexes after adding potassium back to the cells, which restores cell polarization. AP-2 complexes are the cell surface component of coated pits that contain both clathrin and membrane receptor binding domains. Potassium-depleted fibroblasts endocytosed antibody-tagged FNR and also internalized fluorescent fibronectin that previously had been adsorbed to the substratum. During cell polarization, antibody-tagged FNR reorganized into fibrillar structures along stress fibers beginning from nucleation sites at cell margins. Plasma membrane AP-2 complexes, which were undetectable in potassium-depleted cells, reappeared at the cell surface above the nucleus and then spread toward the cell margins. The results show that endocytosis of FNR can occur at least partially by a coated pit-independent mechanism.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology