Key words Coagulating gland
Scanning electron microscopy
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract The coagulating gland of the rat synthesizes two prevalent secretory proteins (transglutaminase and 115 K) that are discharched in a different manner, one being secreted in an apocrine fashion (transglutaminase) and the other one in a merocrine way (115 K). Differences in the intra- cellular pathway and the release of either protein were studied using immunofluorescence on semithin sections, immunoelectron microscopy of preembedding-processed chopper sections and postembedding-processed ultrathin sections of rat coagulating gland. Immunohistochemical staining using an anti-transglutaminase antibody resulted in dense labeling of the cytoplasm of secretory cells and their apical blebs, whereas the cisternae of the rough endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi apparatus were completely unlabeled. When, on the contrary, the anti-115 K antiserum was used, dense labeling of the cisternae of the rough endoplasmic reticulum, the Golgi apparatus, and the secretory granules was seen. Intraluminal secretion was also labeled, but the secretory blebs remained unlabeled. Our findings show that, in the coagulating gland of the male rat, the two secretory proteins studied are processed in parallel, but at completely different intracellular pathways. They are released via different extrusion mechanisms. Transglutaminase is synthesized outside the endoplasmic reticulum, reaches the apical cell pole by free flow in the cytoplasm, and is released via apocrine blebs, the membranes of which appear to be derived from the apical plasma membrane. The protein 115 K, on the other hand, follows the classic route, being synthesized within the cisternae of rough endoplasmic reticulum, subsequently glycosylated in the Golgi apparatus, and released in a merocrine fashion. The mutual exclusion of the two secretory pathways and the regulation of the alternative release mechanism are still unresolved issues.
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