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Swelling-activated pathways in human T-Lymphocytes studied by cell volumetry and electrorotation

: Kiesel, M.; Reuss, R.; Endter, J.; Zimmermann, D.; Zimmermann, H.; Shirakashi, R.; Bamberg, E.; Zimmermann, U.; Sukhorukov, V.L.


Biophysical journal 90 (2006), Nr.12, S.4720-4729
ISSN: 0006-3495
ISSN: 1542-0086
Fraunhofer IBMT ()

Small organic solutes, including sugar derivatives, amino acids, etc., contribute significantly to the osmoregulation of mammalian cells. The present study explores the mechanisms of swelling-activated membrane permeability for electrolytes and neutral carbohydrates in Jurkat cells. Electrorotation was used to analyze the relationship between the hypotonically induced changes in the electrically accessible surface area of the plasma membrane (probed by the capacitance) and its permeability to the monomeric sugar alcohol sorbitol, the disaccharide trehalose, and electrolyte. Time-resolved capacitance and volumetric measurements were performed in parallel using media of different osmolalities containing either sorbitol or trehalose as the major solute. Under mild hypotonic stress in 200 mOsm sorbitol or trehalose solutions, the cells accomplished regulatory volume decrease by releasing cytosolic electrolytes presumably through pathways activated by the swelling-mediated retraction of microvilli. This is suggested by a rapid decrease of the area-specific membrane capacitance C-m(mu F/cm(2)). The cell membrane was impermeable to both carbohydrates in 200 mOsm media. Whereas trehalose permeability remained also very poor in 100 mOsm medium, extreme swelling of cells in a strongly hypotonic solution (100 mOsm) led to a dramatic increase in sorbitol permeability as evidenced by regulatory volume decrease inhibition. The different osmotic thresholds for activation of electrolyte release and sorbitol influx suggest the involvement of separate swelling-activated pathways. Whereas the electrolyte efflux seemed to utilize pathways preexisting in the plasma membrane, putative sorbitol channels might be inserted into the membrane from cytosolic vesicles via swelling-mediated exocytosis, as indicated by a substantial increase in the whole-cell capacitance C-C (pF) in strongly hypotonic solutions.