Although non-muscle tropomyosins (TM) have been implicated in various cellular functions, such as stabilization of actin filaments and possibly regulation of organelle transport, their physiological role is still poorly understood. We have probed the role of a high molecular mass isoform of human fibroblast TM, hTM3, in regulating organelle transport by microinjecting an excess amount of bacterially-expressed protein into normal rat kidney (NRK) epithelial cells. The microinjection induced the dramatic retrograde translocation of organelles into the perinuclear area. Microinjection of hTM5, a low molecular mass isoform had no effect on organelle distribution. Fluorescent staining indicated that hTM3 injection stimulated the retrograde movement of both mitochondria and lysosomes. Moreover, both myosin I and cytoplasmic dynein were found to redistribute with the translocated organelles to the perinuclear area, indicating that these organelles were able to move along both microtubules and actin filaments. The involvement of microtubules was further suggested by the partial inhibition of hTM3-induced organelle movement by the microtubule-depolymerizing drug nocodazole. Our results, along with previous genetic and antibody microinjection studies, suggest that hTM3 may be involved in the regulation of organelle transport.

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