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Hematology - Immunology - Pathology

Temperature-Dependence of Weibel-Palade Body Exocytosis and Cell Surface Dispersal of von Willebrand Factor and Its Propolypeptide
Published: Friday, November 11, 2011
Author: Lindsay Hewlett et al.

by Lindsay Hewlett, Gregor Zupancic, Gregory Mashanov, Laura Knipe, David Ogden, Matthew J. Hannah, Tom Carter


Weibel-Palade bodies (WPB) are endothelial cell (EC) specific secretory organelles containing Von Willebrand factor (VWF). The temperature-dependence of Ca2+-driven WPB exocytosis is not known, although indirect evidence suggests that WPB exocytosis may occur at very low temperatures. Here we quantitatively analyse the temperature-dependence of Ca2+-driven WPB exocytosis and release of secreted VWF from the cell surface of ECs using fluorescence microscopy of cultured human ECs containing fluorescent WPBs.

Principal Findings

Ca2+-driven WPB exocytosis occurred at all temperatures studied (7–37°C). The kinetics and extent of WPB exocytosis were strongly temperature-dependent: Delays in exocytosis increased from 0.92 s at 37°C to 134.2 s at 7°C, the maximum rate of WPB fusion decreased from 10.0±2.2 s-1 (37°C) to 0.80±0.14 s-1 (7°C) and the fractional extent of degranulation of WPBs in each cell from 67±3% (37°C) to 3.6±1.3% (7°C). A discrepancy was found between the reduction in Ca2+-driven VWF secretion and WPB exocytosis at reduced temperature; at 17°C VWF secretion was reduced by 95% but WPB exocytosis by 75–80%. This discrepancy arises because VWF dispersal from sites of WPB exocytosis is largely prevented at low temperature. In contrast VWF-propolypeptide (proregion) dispersal from WPBs, although slowed, was complete within 60–120 s. Novel antibodies to the cleaved and processed proregion were characterised and used to show that secreted proregion more accurately reports the secretion of WPBs at sub-physiological temperatures than assay of VWF itself.


We report the first quantitative analysis of the temperature-dependence of WPB exocytosis. We provide evidence; by comparison of biochemical data for VWF or proregion secretion with direct analysis of WPB exocytosis at reduced temperature, that proregion is a more reliable marker for WPB exocytosis at reduced temperature, where VWF-EC adhesion is increased.