The Histochemical Journal

, 22:215

First online:

New membrane assembly in IgE receptor-mediated exocytosis

  • E. A. Schmauder-ChockAffiliated withDepartment of Experimental Hematology, Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute
  • , S. P. ChockAffiliated withLaboratory of Neurochemistry, NINCDS, NIH

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The presence of excess membrane has been observed in the secretory granules of mast cells activated via the physiological mechanism of IgE receptor-mediated exocytosis. This excess membrane is the result of ade novo assembly from phospholipid, cholesterol, and other membrane components stored in the quiescent granule. Following receptor stimulation, membrane bilayer structures of varying size and shape can be seen in the subperigranular membrane space where the perigranular membrane has lifted away from the granule matrix. Vesicles as small as 25 nm in outer diameter are frequently found beneath the perigranular membrane at the site of granule fusion. Membrane in the form of elongated vesicles, tubes, or sheets has also been observed. The wide variation in size and shape of the newly assembled membrane may reflect the spontaneity of the entropy-driven membrane generation process and the fluid characteristic of the biological membrane in general. Fusion of the newly assembled membrane with the perigranular membrane enables the activated granule to enlarge. This rapid expansion process of the perigranular membrane may be the principal mechanism by which an activated granule can achieve contact with the plasma membrane in order to generate pore formation. The fact that new membrane assembly also occurs in the IgE receptor-mediated granule exocytosis, supports our observation thatde novo membrane generation is an inherent step in the mechanism of mast cell granule exocytosis. Whether new membrane assembly is a common step in the mechanism of secretory granule exocytosis in general, must await careful reinvestigation of other secretory systems.