Cellular Nanotubes: Membrane Channels for Intercellular Communication
Cells of living organism communicate in many different ways with their neighbor cells. This is accomplished by, for example, the secretion of signaling molecules or the formation of proteinaceous pores, referred to as gap junctions, between physically attached cells. In addition to these long-known communication routes, a novel mechanism was discovered recently based on de novo formation of membrane nanotubes, which facilitate the delivery of biological molecules and organelles between cells. Interestingly, chemists have been developing artificial carbon-based nanostructures with a similar architecture for communication with cells and delivery of clinically interesting drugs. Along with every new developed technology involving the use of foreign compounds in biomedical applications, concerns emerge on the biocompatibility and toxicity at the cellular level. This is particularly true for nano-sized materials, whose effects are yet to be thoroughly determined in vivo. Biocompatibilization of synthetic compounds may be done more efficiently if naturally occurring structures are taken as models.
KeywordsTunneling nanotube TNT cellular communication intercellular transport
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Gerdes H-H, Carvalho RN (2008) Intercellular transfer mediated by tunneling nanotubes. Curr. Opin. Cell Biol. doi. 10.1016/j.ceb.2008.03.005.Google Scholar
- Koyanagi M, Brandes RP, Haendeler J, Zeiher AM, Dimmeler S (2005) Cell-to-cell connection of endothelial progenitor cells with cardiac myocytes by nanotubes: A novel mechanism for cell fate changes? Circ. Res. 96: 1039-1041.Google Scholar
- Önfelt B, Nedvetzki S, Yanagi K, Davis DM (2004) Cutting edge: Membrane nanotubes connect immune cells. J. Immunol. 173: 1511-1513.Google Scholar
- Önfelt B, Nedvetzki S, Benninger RK, Purbhoo MA, Sowinski S, Hume AN, Seabra MC, Neil MA, French PM, Davis DM (2006) Structurally distinct membrane nanotubes between human macrophages support long-distance vesicular traffic or surfing of bacteria. J. Immunol. 177: 8476-8483.Google Scholar
- Pantarotto D, Briand JP, Prato M, Bianco A (2004) Translocation of bioactive peptides across cell membranes by carbon nanotubes. Chem. Commun. (Camb): 16-17.Google Scholar
- Pontes B, Viana NB, Campanati L, Farina M, Neto VM, Nussenzveig HM (2007) Structure and elastic properties of tunneling nanotubes. Eur. Biophys. J. [Epub ahead of print] Google Scholar
- Razzaq A, Robinson IM, McMahon HT, Skepper JN, Su Y, Zelhof AC, Jackson AP, Gay NJ, O’Kane CJ (2001) Amphiphysin is necessary for organization of the excitation-contraction coupling machinery of muscles, but not for synaptic vesicle endocytosis in Drosophila. Genes Dev. 15: 2967-2979.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Sun M, Graham JS, Hegedüs B, Marga F, Zhang Y, Forgacs G, Grandbois M(2005) Multiple membrane tethers probed by atomic force microscopy. Biophys. J.89: 4320-4329.Google Scholar
- Sowinski S, Jolly C, Berninghausen O, Purbhoo MA, Chauveau A, Köhler K, Oddos S, Eissmann P, Brodsky FM, Hopkins C, Önfelt B, Sattentau Q, Davis DM (2008) Membrane nanotubes physically connect T cells over long distances presenting a novel route for HIV-1 transmission. Nat. Cell Biol. 10: 211-219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar