Characterization and subcellular localization of target membrane soluble NSF attachment protein receptors (t-SNAREs) in macrophages: Syntaxins 2, 3, and 4 are present on phagosomal membranes

David Hackam, Ori D. Rotstein, Mark K. Bennett, Amira Klip, Sergio Grinstein, Morris F. Manolson


Phagosomes formed during ingestion of microorganisms by leukocytes undergo a rapid maturation, generating an acidic, microbicidal organelle. Maturation requires interactions with intracellular vesicles that dock and fuse preferentially with the phagosomal membrane. The basis of the specificity of vesiculo-phagosomal interaction has not been elucidated. By contrast, the molecular basis of vesicular fusion in other systems is better understood. At neural synapses, vesicular docking and fusion to the plasma membrane are mediated by a protein complex including syntaxin 1. We explored whether macrophages contain syntaxins, and whether selective fusion of vesicles with the phagosome results from the accumulation of syntaxins in the phagosemal membrane. Isoform-specific Abs were utilized to demonstrate that syntaxins 2, 3, and 4, but not syntaxin 1, are present in murine and human macrophages. Biochemical characterization demonstrated the presence of these syntaxins on microsomes, where they are integral membrane proteins. Subcellular localization using confocal immunofluorescence microscopy demonstrated that syntaxins 3 and 4 are present on the plasma membrane as well as on intracellular vesicles. Importantly, phagosomes isolated by fractionation were shown by immunoblotting to contain syntaxins 2, 3, and 4, suggesting that they may participate in phagosomal maturation. The density of the syntaxins on the phagosomal membrane was found to be comparable with that on the surface membrane. This suggests that preferential fusion of vesicles with the phagosomal membrane is not the result of segregation of the syntaxins to this organelle. Instead, local generation of second messengers in the vicinity of the phagosomal membrane may trigger focal fusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4377-4383
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 1996
Externally publishedYes


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