The binding of asialoglycoproteins to their liver cell receptor results in internalization of the ligand-receptor complex. These complexes rapidly appear in intracellular compartments termed endosomes whose acidification results in ligand-receptor dissociation. Ligand and receptor subsequently segregate: ligand is transported to lysosomes and is degraded while receptor recycles to the cell surface. The proton ionophore monensin prevents acidification of endosomes and reversibly inhibits this acid-dependent dissociation of ligand from receptor. The present study determined the effect of monensin treatment of short-term cultured rat hepatocytes on cell-surface-receptor content, determined both by their binding activity and immunologically, following continuous endocytosis of asialoorosomucoid. Inclusion of 5 μM monensin in the incubation medium reduced the number of immunologically detectable cell-surface receptors by 20% in the absence of ligand. During continuous endocytosis of asialoorosomucoid, inclusion of monensin resulted in a 30-40% reduction of cell-surface receptor detectable either by ligand binding or immunologically. These results suggest that the reduced liver-cell-surface content of receptor in monensin is due to intracellular trapping of ligand-receptor complexes. The reduction of surface receptor during monensin incubation in the absence of ligand suggests that "constitutive recycling" of plasma membrane components also requires intracellular acidification.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology