Association of early endosomal autoantigen 1 with macropinocytosis in EGF-stimulated a431 cells



Association of early endosomal autoantigen 1 (EEA1) with macropinosomes was examined in EGF-stimulated A431 cells by dual labeling with immunofluorescence of anti-EEA1 and FITC-dextran (FDx), a fluid-phase endocytic marker. Addition of EGF to A431 cells drastically enhanced macropinosome formation. Newly formed macropinosomes labeled with 5-min pulse of FDx were located at the cell periphery and labeled weakly for EEA1. After a 5-min chase, these macropinosomes aggregated and frequently fused with each other. Immunofluorescence showed that EEA1 appeared on the membrane of FDx-labeled macropinosomes at that time, suggesting that EEA1 functioned in homotypic macropinosome fusion. With longer chase (30–60 min), macropinosomes decreased in number and size, indicating that FDx was largely exocytosed via recycling compartments. A small amount of FDx-labeled macropinosomes remained in the perinuclear region even at 60 min after pulse labeling. They were EEA1-positive but negative for cathepsin D, a lysosomal enzyme. This indicates that macropinosomes do not mature to late endosomes or fuse with lysosomes. Instead, EEA1 continuously mediates homotypic fusion as long as the macropinosomes persist. Anat Rec Part A 277A:298–306, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.