Key words: Endoplasmic reticulum
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract. The spatial organization of the endoplasmic reticulum has been studied in two renal cell lines, MDCK and LLC-PK1, which originate from the distal and proximal portions of the mammalian nephron, respectively, and which form a polarized epithelium when they reach confluence in tissue culture. The two renal cell lines, grown to confluence on either solid or permeable supports, were investigated by fluorescence microscopy, confocal microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. Fluorescence labeling of the endoplasmic reticulum was achieved using the cationic fluorescent dye DIOC6 (3). In order to differentiate fluorescent labeling of the endoplasmic reticulum from that of the mitochondria, cells were also labeled with rhodamine 123. For electron microscopy, the spatial organization of the endoplasmic reticulum was examined in thick sections using the long-duration osmium impregnation technique or the ferrocyanide/osmium technique. In both cell lines, the endoplasmic reticulum formed an abundant tubular network of canaliculi that frequently abutted the basolateral domain of the plasma membrane and occasionally the apical membrane. Elements of the endoplasmic reticulum were also found in close proximity to mitochondria that, as in the nephron, formed branched structures. Canaliculi appeared circular or flattened and had an inner diameter of 10–70 nm for MDCK cells and 20–90 nm for LLC-PK1 cells. Such a three-dimensional organization might facilitate the translocation of defined lipid species between the endoplasmic reticulum and the plasma membrane, and between the endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria.
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