Peptides labelled with the fluorophore cyanine 3 were used to study naturally expressed neuropeptide receptors by confocal microscopy in continuous cell lines, primary cultures, and unfixed tissue. Swiss 3T3 fibroblasts bound cyanine 3-gastrin-releasing peptide at 4°C, and internalized the peptide after 10 min at 37°C. Internalization was specific, since it was blocked by incubation with unlabelled peptide. Primary cultures of myenteric neurons of the guinea pig incubated with cyanine 3-substance P at 4°C had specific surface labelling. After 30 s at 37°C, the peptide was internalized into vesicles in both the soma and neurites. Direct observation of live neurons showed movement of fluorescent vesicles to a perinuclear region after 30 min. Endocytosis was associated with a loss of surface binding sites. Unfixed whole mounts of guinea pig and rat ileum were incubated with cyanine 3-neurokinin A at 4°C. After 5 min at 37°C, Cy3-neurokinin A was specifically internalized in neurons and smooth muscle cells. After 30 min, a perinuclear labelling occurred in some cells. Labelling in rat neurons was diminished by the NK3-R antagonist SR142801. Thus, cyanine 3-neuropeptides are valuable tools to study expression and endocytosis of naturally expressed receptors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology