Nov 1, 1989

Construction of the endoplasmic reticulum

The Journal of Cell Biology
C LeeL B Chen


To study the construction of the ER, we used the microtubule-disrupting drug nocodazole to induce the complete breakdown of ER structure in living cells followed by recovery in drug-free medium, which regenerates the ER network within 15 min. Using the fluorescent dye 3,3'-dihexyloxacarbocyanine iodide to visualize the ER, we have directly observed the network construction process in living cells. In these experiments, the ER network was constructed through an iterative process of extension, branching, and intersection of new ER tubules driven by the ER motility previously described as tubule branching. We have tested the cytoskeletal requirements of this process. We find that newly formed ER tubules are aligned with single microtubules but not actin fibers or vimentin intermediate filaments. Microtubule polymerization preceded the extension of ER tubules and, in experiments with a variety of different drugs, appeared to be a necessary condition for the ER network formation. Furthermore, perturbations of the pattern of microtubule polymerization with microtubule-specific drugs caused exactly correlated perturbations of the pattern of ER construction. Induction of abnormally short, nonintersecting microtubules with 20 microM tax...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Immunofluorescence Assay
Plant alkaloid
VIM gene
Tissue Membrane
Cell Motility

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