Actin-based phagosome motility

Fangliang Zhang, Frederick S. Southwick, Daniel L. Purich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Despite abundant evidence of actin's involvement at the particle internalization stage of phagocytosis, little is known about whether phagosomes undergo the same type of actin-based motility as observed with endocytic vesicles or such intracellular pathogens as Listeria and Shigella. By employing video microscopy to follow the fate of latex bead-containing phagosomes within the cytoplasm of bone marrow macrophages, we have made the novel observation of actin-based phagosome motility. Immunofluorescence microscopy confirmed that phagosomes containing IgG-opsonized, bovine serum albumin (or BSA) -coated or uncoated latex beads all formed actin-rich rocket tails that persisted only during a brief, 1-2 min period of actin-based motility. Average speeds of actin-based phagosome motility were 0.13 ± 0.06 μm/s for IgG-coated beads, 0.14 ± 0.04 μm/s for BSA-coated beads, and 0.11 ± 0.03 μm/s for uncoated beads. Moreover, the speeds and motile-phase duration of each type of phagosome were comparable to the behavior of pinosomes [Merrifield et al., 1999: Nat. Cell Biol. 1:72-74.]. Determination of optimal conditions for observing and analyzing actin-based phagosome motility should facilitate future investigations of phagocytosis and phagosome maturation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-88
Number of pages8
JournalCell Motility and the Cytoskeleton
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Contractile apparatus
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Macrophage
  • Organelle trafficking
  • Phagocytosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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