Morphology and dynamics of the endocytic pathway in Dictyostelium discoideum

Eva M. Neuhaus, Wolfhard Almers, Thierry Soldati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Dictyostelium discoideum is a genetically and biochemically tractable social amoeba belonging to the crown group of eukaryotes. It performs some of the tasks characteristic of a leukocyte such as chemotactic motility, macropinocytosis, and phagocytosis that are not performed by other model organisms or are difficult to study. D. discoideum is becoming a popular system to study molecular mechanisms of endocytosis, but the morphological characterization of the organelles along this pathway and the comparison with equivalent and/or different organelles in animal cells and yeasts were lagging. Herein, we used a combination of evanescent wave microscopy and electron microscopy of rapidly frozen samples to visualize primary endocytic vesicles, vesicular-tubular structures of the early and late endo-lysosomal system, such as multivesicular bodies, and the specialized secretory lysosomes. In addition, we present biochemical and morphological evidence for the existence of a micropinocytic pathway, which contributes to the uptake of membrane along side macropinocytosis, which is the major fluid phase uptake process. This complex endosomal compartment underwent continuous cycles of tubulation/vesiculation as well as homo- and heterotypic fusions, in a way reminiscent of mechanisms and structures documented in leukocytes. Finally, egestion of fluid phase from the secretory lysosomes was directly observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1390-1407
Number of pages18
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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