Phospholipid mediated plasticity in exocytosis observed in PC12 cells

Yoshiko Uchiyama, Marc M. Maxson, Tsuguo Sawada, Akihiko Nakano, Andrew G. Ewing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Membrane composition serves to identify intracellular compartments, signal cell death, as well as to alter a cell's electrical and physical properties. Here we use amperometry to show that supplementation with the phospholipids phosphatidylcholine (PC), phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), sphingomyelin (SM), and phosphatidylserine (PS) can alter several aspects of exocytosis. Changes in the amperometric peak shape derived from individual exocytosing vesicles reveal that PC slows expulsion of neurotransmitter while PE accelerates expulsion of neurotransmitter. Amperometry data reveal a reduced amount of catecholamine released per event from PC-treated cells while electron micrographs indicate the vesicles in these cells are 50% larger than controls, thus providing evidence of pharmacological changes in vesicle concentration. Addition of SM appears to affect the rate of fusion pore expansion, indicated by slower peak rise times, but does not affect decay times or quantal size. Addition of PS results in a 1.7-fold increase in the number of events elicited by high-K+ depolarization. Electron micrographs of PS-treated cells suggest that increased vesicle recruitment underlies enhanced secretion. We did not observe any effect of phosphatidylinositol (PI) treatment. Together these data suggest that differences in membrane composition affect exocytosis and might be involved in mechanisms of cell function controlling the dynamics of communication via exocytosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-54
Number of pages9
JournalBrain research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 4 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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