Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UCLA Previously Published Works bannerUCLA

Release of cholesterol-rich particles from the macrophage plasma membrane during movement of filopodia and lamellipodia


Cultured mouse peritoneal macrophages release large numbers of ~30-nm cholesterol-rich particles. Here, we show that those particles represent fragments of the plasma membrane that are pulled away and left behind during the projection and retraction of filopodia and lamellipodia. Consistent with this finding, the particles are enriched in proteins found in focal adhesions, which attach macrophages to the substrate. The release of particles is abolished by blocking cell movement (either by depolymerizing actin with latrunculin A or by inhibiting myosin II with blebbistatin). Confocal microscopy and NanoSIMS imaging studies revealed that the plasma membrane-derived particles are enriched in 'accessible cholesterol' (a mobile pool of cholesterol detectable with the modified cytolysin ALO-D4) but not in sphingolipid-sequestered cholesterol [a pool detectable with ostreolysin A (OlyA)]. The discovery that macrophages release cholesterol-rich particles during cellular locomotion is likely relevant to cholesterol efflux and could contribute to extracellular cholesterol deposition in atherosclerotic plaques.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View