The sorting machinery in early endosomes is crucial for intracellular homeostasis and signal transduction and its disruption leads to the development of various diseases. In spite of its significance, the molecular mechanism underlying this machinery remains largely unknown. Actin filaments are implicated in intracellular trafficking, including membrane fission at endocytosis, membrane stretching at the Golgi complex, and maturation of endosomes. We have recently found that actin is required for receptor sorting in early endosomes and identified cortactin as a candidate for actin regulation in early endosomes. Inhibition of actin dynamics leads to enlargement of early endosomes and impairment of the sorting; the latter is also observed in cortactin-depleted cells. The endosomal localization of cortactin was enhanced by dynasore, a dynamin inhibitor that effectively inhibits endosomal sorting, indicating that cortactin is involved in the sorting machinery in early endosomes. Here we discuss the role of actin filaments in early endosomes and other molecules implicated in endosomal trafficking.
Early endosomes (EEs) are known to be a sorting station for internalized molecules destined for degradation, recycling, or other intracellular organelles. Segregation is an essential step in such sorting, but the molecular mechanism of this process remains to be elucidated. Here, we show that actin is required for efficient recycling and endosomal maturation by producing a motile force. Perturbation of actin dynamics by drugs induced a few enlarged EEs containing several degradative vacuoles and also interfered with their transporting ability. Actin repolymerization induced by washout of the drug caused the vacuoles to dissociate and individually translocate toward the perinuclear region. We further elucidated that cortactin, an actin-nucleating factor, was required for transporting contents from within EEs. Actin filaments regulated by cortactin may provide a motile force for efficient sorting within early endosomes. These data suggest that actin filaments coordinate with microtubules to mediate segregation in EEs.
Tryptanthrin is a compound isolated from Polygonum tinctorium, which is a known folk medicine with various biological activities.
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