Volltext-Downloads (blau) und Frontdoor-Views (grau)

Lipid droplets as a novel cargo of tunnelling nanotubes in endothelial cells

  • Intercellular communication is a fundamental process in the development and functioning of multicellular organisms. Recently, an essentially new type of intercellular communication, based on thin membrane channels between cells, has been reported. These structures, termed intercellular or tunnelling nanotubes (TNTs), permit the direct exchange of various components or signals (e.g., ions, proteins, or organelles) between non-adjacent cells at distances over 100 μm. Our studies revealed the presence of tunnelling nanotubes in microvascular endothelial cells (HMEC-1). The TNTs were studied with live cell imaging, environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM), and coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering spectroscopy (CARS). Tunneling nanotubes showed marked persistence: the TNTs could connect cells over long distances (up to 150 μm) for several hours. Several cellular organelles were present in TNTs, such as lysosomes and mitochondria. Moreover, we could identify lipid droplets as a novel type of cargo in the TNTs. Under angiogenic conditions (VEGF treatment) the number of lipid droplets increased significantly. Arachidonic acid application not only increased the number of lipid droplets but also tripled the extent of TNT formation. Taken together, our results provide the first demonstration of lipid droplets as a cargo of TNTs and thereby open a new field in intercellular communication research.

Download full text files

Export metadata

Additional Services

Search Google Scholar


Document Type:Article
Author:Ksenia Astanina, Marcus Koch, Christian JüngstORCiD, Andreas Zumbusch, Alexandra K. KiemerORCiD
Parent Title (English):Scientific Reports
Year of first Publication:2015
Release Date:2022/11/18
Impact:05.228 (2015)
Scientific Units:Physical Analytics
Open Access:Open Access
Signature:INM 2015/56
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International