Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 153–169 | Cite as

Expression and Allocation of Proteins of the Exo-Endocytotic Machinery in U373 Glioma Cells: Similarities to Long-Term Cultured Astrocytes

  • Walter Volknandt
  • Friederike Küster
  • Alexander Wilhelm
  • Eva Obermüller
  • Arthur Steinmann
  • Lixia Zhang
  • Herbert Zimmermann


1. Cultured astrocytes cells release a variety of low and high molecular weight messenger substances and express proteins of the exocytotic pathway including synaptic SNARE proteins. For analyzing the molecular mechanisms of astrocytic messenger release, permanent cell lines with astrocytic properties would provide useful tools.

2. We analyzed the potential of the human malignant astrocytoma-derived cell line U373 MG to express proteins involved in regulated exo- and endocytosis. An immunoblot analysis identified the astrocyte marker glial fibrillary acidic protein, microtubule-associated protein 2, the v-SNAREs VAMP I, VAMP II, and cellubrevin and the t-SN AREs syntaxin I, SNAP-23, and SNAP-25.

3. The cells also express the secretory granule protein secretogranin II. Although secretogranin II immunofluorescence reveals larger fluorescence spots, the majority of the SNARE proteins is associated with smaller organelles. The immunofluorescence is distributed throughout the cytoplasm and accumulates at processes and the growing edges of cells.

4. The organellar association of SNARE proteins was confirmed by heterologous expression of recombinant fusion proteins. Following subcellular fractionation organelles of lower buoyant density carried the majority of VAMP II. Secretogranin II was associated with organelles of high buoyant density containing a small contribution of VAMP II.

5. The results suggest that U373 MG cells have in common a considerable number of properties with long-term cultured astrocytes rather than with cultured oligodendrocytes or neurons. They contain two types of organelles that can be physically separated and may be employed in the differential release of messengers.

astrocyte glioma granule SNARE U373 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Walter Volknandt
    • 1
  • Friederike Küster
    • 1
  • Alexander Wilhelm
    • 1
  • Eva Obermüller
    • 1
  • Arthur Steinmann
    • 1
  • Lixia Zhang
    • 1
  • Herbert Zimmermann
    • 1
  1. 1.Zoologisches Institut, Frankfurt am MainBiozentrum der J.W. Goethe-Universität, AK NeurochemieGermany;

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