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Study of Intracellular Cargo Trafficking and Co-localization in the Phagosome and Autophagy-Lysosomal Pathways of Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE) Cells

  • J. Arjuna RatnayakaEmail author
  • Eloise Keeling
  • David S. Chatelet
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series


The transport and targeting of internalized molecules to distinct intracellular organelles/compartments can prove challenging to visualize clearly, which can contribute to some of the difficulties associated with these studies. By combining several approaches, we show how the trafficking and processing of photoreceptor outer segments in the phagosome and autophagy-lysosomal pathways of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) can easily be quantified and visualized as 3D-reconstructed images. This protocol takes advantage of new developments in microscopy and image-analysis software which has the potential to help better understand dynamic intracellular processes that underlie RPE dysfunction associated with irreversible blinding diseases such as age-related macular degeneration. The method described herein can also be used to study the trafficking and co-localization of different intracellular cargos in other cell types and tissues.


3D imaging Co-localization Retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) Phagosome Lysosomes Autophagy Confocal Microscopy 



We thank our colleagues Dr. David A. Johnston and Dr. Anton Page (Biomedical Imaging Unit, University of Southampton) for their expertise in light/confocal and ultrastructural microscopy, Ms. Savannah A. Lynn (Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton) for her expertise in cell culture and imaging, and Dr. David A. Tumbarello (Biological Sciences, University of Southampton) for his expertise in membrane trafficking and cell signaling. This work was funded by support from the Macular Society, UK, and the Gift of Sight Appeal.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Arjuna Ratnayaka
    • 1
    Email author
  • Eloise Keeling
    • 1
  • David S. Chatelet
    • 2
  1. 1.Clinical and Experimental Sciences, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  2. 2.Biomedical Imaging UnitUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK

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