Biogenesis of regulated exocytotic carriers in neuroendocrine cells

B. A. Eaton, M. Haugwitz, D. Lau, H. P.H. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


Ca2+-triggered exocytosis is a hallmark of neurosecretory granules, but the cellular pathway leading to the assembly of these regulated exocytotic carriers is poorly understood. Here we used the pituitary AtT-20 cell line to study the biogenesis of regulated exocytotic carriers involved in peptide hormone secretion. We show that immature secretory granules (ISGs) freshly budded from the trans-Golgi network (TGN) exhibit characteristics of unregulated exocytotic carriers. During a subsequent maturation period they undergo an important switch to become regulated exocytotic carriers. We have identified a novel sorting pathway responsible for this transition. The SNARE proteins, VAMP4 and synaptotagmin IV (Syt IV), enter ISGs initially but are sorted away during maturation. Sorting is achieved by vesicle budding from the ISGs, because it can be inhibited by brefeldin A (BFA). Inhibition of this sorting pathway with BFA arrested the maturing granules in a state that responded poorly to stimuli, suggesting that the transition to regulated exocytotic carriers requires the removal of a putative inhibitor. In support of this, we found that overexpression of Syt IV reduced the stimulus-responsiveness of maturing granules. We conclude that secretory granules undergo a switch from unregulated to regulated secretory carriers during biogenesis. The existence of such a switch may provide a mechanism for cells to modulate their secretory activities under different physiological conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7334-7344
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Membrane remodeling
  • Organelle biogenesis
  • Protein sorting
  • Regulated exocytosis
  • SNARE proteins
  • Secretory granules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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