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The Journal of Biochemistry
Vol. 129 (2001) No. 5 P 739-744

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CD63 is located on the basophilic granule membranes in resting basophils, mast cells, and platelets, and is also located on the plasma membranes of the cells. We constructed a CD63-GFP (green fluorescent protein) plasmid and introduced it into rat basophilic leukemia (RBL-2H3) cells to observe the movements of CD63 on degranulation. The movements of CD63-GFP were studied in living RBL cells by confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). CD63-GFP, in which GFP was conjugated to the C-terminus of CD63, was located on both the granule membranes and the plasma membranes of RBL cells. The diameter of the fluorescent granules in the cytoplasm varied from 0.5 to 1.5μm. Before antigen stimulation most granules with CD63-GFP hardly moved in RBL cells. However, after antigen stimulation the plasma membranes ruffled violently and the granules moved dramatically. They reached the plasma membranes in a few minutes and fused with them instantaneously. Analysis of the movement of each granule provided a new insight into the elementary process of degranulation. The velocity of the granule movement toward the plasma membranes on antigen stimulation was calculated to be 0.1±0.02μm/s. This shows that the granules are able to reach the plasma membranes in 2 or 3min if the diameter of the cells is 20μm.

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