Electric field-induced redistribution and postfield relaxation of low density lipoprotein receptors on cultured human fibroblasts

David W. Tank, W. J. Fredericks, L. S. Barak, W. W. Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The lateral mobility of unliganded low density lipoprotein-receptor (LDL-R) on the surface of human fibroblasts has been investigated by studying the generation and relaxation of concentration differences induced by exposure of the cultured cells to steady electric fields. The topographic distribution of receptors was determined by fluorescence microscopy of cells labeled with the intensely fluorescent, biologically active LDL derivative dioctadecylindolcarbocyanine LDL (diI(3)-LDL), or with native LDL and anti-LDL indirect immunofluorescence. Exposure of the LDL-receptor-internalization defective J. D. cells (GM2408A) to an electric field of 10 V/cm for 1 h at 22°C causes >80% of the cells to have an asymmetric distribution of LDL-R; receptors accumulate at the more negative pole of the cell. In contrast, only 20% of LDL-internalization normal GM3348 cells exposed to identical conditions have asymmetrical distributions. Phase micrographs taken during electric-field exposure rule out cell movement as the responsible mechanism for the effect. In both cell types, postfield labeling with the Factin-specific fluorescent probe nitrobenzoxadiazole-phallacidin shows that no topographic alteration of the actin cytoskeleton accompanies the redistribution of cell surface LDL-Rs, and indirect immunofluorescence labeling of the coat protein clathrin shows that coated pits do not redistribute asymmetrically. Measurements of the postfield relaxation in the percentage of GM2408A cells showing an asymmetric distribution allow an estimate of the effective postfield diffusion coefficient of the unliganded LDL-R. At 37°C, D = 2.0 x 10-9 cm2/s, decreasing to 1.1 x 10-9 cm2/s at 22°C, and D = 3.5 x 10 -1° cm2/s at 10°C. These values are substantially larger than those measured by photobleaching methods for the LDL-R complexed with diI(3)-LDL on intact cells, but are comparable to those measured on membrane blebs, and are consistent with diffusion coefficients measured for other unliganded integral membrane receptor proteins by postfield-relaxation methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-157
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 1985
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Electric field-induced redistribution and postfield relaxation of low density lipoprotein receptors on cultured human fibroblasts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this