We describe a new phenomenon of anodotropic pseudopod-like blebbing in U937 cells stimulated by nanosecond pulsed electric field (nsPEF). In contrast to “regular,” round-shaped blebs, which are often seen in response to cell damage, pseudopod-like blebs (PLBs) formed as longitudinal membrane protrusions toward anode. PLB length could exceed the cell diameter in 2 min of exposure to 60-ns, 10-kV/cm pulses delivered at 10–20 Hz. Both PLBs and round-shaped nsPEF-induced blebs could be efficiently inhibited by partial isosmotic replacement of bath NaCl for a larger solute (sucrose), thereby pointing to the colloid-osmotic water uptake as the principal driving force for bleb formation. In contrast to round-shaped blebs, PLBs retracted within several minutes after exposure. Cells treated with 1 nM of the actin polymerization blocker cytochalasin D were unable to form PLBs and instead produced stationary, spherical blebs with no elongation or retraction capacity. Live cell fluorescent actin tagging showed that during elongation actin promptly entered the PLB interior, forming bleb cortex and scaffold, which was not seen in stationary blebs. Overall, PLB formation was governed by both passive (physicochemical) effects of membrane permeabilization and active cytoskeleton assembly in the living cell. To a certain extent, PLB mimics the membrane extension in the process of cell migration and can be employed as a nonchemical model for studies of cytomechanics, membrane–cytoskeleton interaction and cell motility.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: May 26, 2012
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