A role for calmodulin in organelle membrane tubulation. Academic Article uri icon


  • Membrane tubules of uniform diameter (60-80 nm) and variable lengths have been seen to extend from the main bodies of the Golgi complex, trans Golgi network (TGN), and endosomes. In the case of endosomes, these tubules appear to mediate membrane and receptor recycling events. Brefeldin A (BFA) is a potent drug that completely blocks coated vesicle formation from the Golgi complex and TGN, but at the same time causes the enhanced formation of membrane tubules from these same organelles. Recently, experiments have shown that calmodulin antagonists inhibit the transport of receptors out of endosomes, perhaps by inhibiting the formation of recycling tubules. Using the potent calmodulin-specific antagonists N-(6-aminohexyl)-5-chloro-1-naphthalenesulfonamide (W-7), N-(4-aminobutyl)-5-chloro-2-naphthalenesulfonamide (W-13), and N-(4-aminobutyl)-5-chloro-1-naphthalenesulfonamide (C-1), we found that the recycling of transferrin from endosomes to the cell surface was significantly inhibited, resulting in the formation of enlarged endosomal vacuoles. In addition, these same calmodulin antagonists also potently inhibited the formation of BFA-stimulated membrane tubules from the Golgi complex, TGN, and endosomes. In the case of the Golgi complex, failure to form tubules resulted in the inhibition of BFA-stimulated retrograde transport to the endoplasmic reticulum. These results suggest that calmodulin is a general regulator of membrane tubulation and is capable of influencing the morphology of several organelles.

published proceedings

  • Mol Biol Cell

author list (cited authors)

  • de Figueiredo, P., & Brown, W. J.

citation count

  • 42

complete list of authors

  • de Figueiredo, P||Brown, WJ

publication date

  • July 1995