Application Notes

Membrane dynamics of recycling endosomes detected by confocal microscopy

January 2023

Membrane deformation, which elongates the recycling endosome into a tubular structure, plays an important role when endocytosed functional molecules such as receptors and adhesion molecules are recycled back to the cell membrane surface. The recycling of functional molecules contributes to various cell functions such as cell proliferation, migration, and differentiation. Therefore, dysregulation of the membrane dynamics of recycling endosomes could cause abnormal tissue/organ formation and cancer metastasis. Although many molecules are known to be involved in the formation of tubular recycling endosomes, the detailed molecular mechanisms remain unclear.

Dr. Ayuko Sakane and Dr. Takuya Sasaki of the Department of Biochemistry, Graduate School of Medicine, Tokushima University, found a new mechanism in which recycling endosomes, one of the organelles involved in intracellular vesicular trafficking, exhibit dynamic membrane deformation.

Confocal microscopes can acquire not only ordinary confocal images, but also high-resolution images in various applications such as 3D construction, time-lapse imaging, and FRAP (fluorescence recovery after photobleaching). In 2021, Dr. Sakane et al. captured images of the membrane deformation of recycling endosomes and clarified the molecular mechanism thereof. This application note introduces the findings reported by Dr. Sakane et al., focusing on the contribution of confocal microscopy.