MadSci Network: Cell Biology

Re: do alpha cells have a flagella, centrioles, lysosomes, or cilia?

Date: Thu Dec 29 15:11:54 2011
Posted By: Sarah Earley, Postdoctoral Fellow
Area of science: Cell Biology
ID: 1317567653.Cb

Hi Victoria,

Pancreatic alpha cells contain centrioles and lysosomes, and also contain a single cilium. (From what I can determine, alpha cells do not contain flagella.) An article in the American Journal of Pathology (published in 1964, before the function of alpha cells was even known!) describes characterization of pancreatic tumor cells using electron microscopy, and reports that the cells have centrioles, and that some cells contain a single cilium. A more recent article from the European Journal of Morphology (2001) verifies that alpha cells in particular have a single cilium. The structure of the cilia resemble that of a centriole, and include a ciliary sheath. Lastly, a report in the Journal of Histochemistry & Cytochemistry (1988) describes visualization of proteins called cathepsins in lysosomes of pancreatic alpha cells using light microscopy.

So, I think you can safely include centrioles, lysosomes, and a cilium in your model.

Hope this helps!

Greider, M.H. and Elliott, D.W., “Election microscopy of human pancreatic tumors of islet cell origin.” Am J Pathol. 1964 Apr;44(4):663-78.

Aughsteen AA. “The ultrastructure of primary cilia in the endocrine and excretory duct cells of the pancreas of mice and rats.” Eur J Morphol. 2001 Dec;39(5):277-83.

Watanabe M, Watanabe T, Ishii Y, Matsuba H, Kimura S, Fujita T, Kominami E, Katunuma N, Uchiyama Y., “Immunocytochemical localization of cathepsins B, H, and their endogenous inhibitor, cystatin beta, in islet endocrine cells of rat pancreas.” J Histochem Cytochem. 1988 Jul;36(7):783- 91.

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