Small Molecules for Early Endosome-Specific Patch Clamping
To resolve the subcellular distribution of endolysosomal ion channels, we have established a novel experimental approach to selectively patch clamp Rab5 positive early endosomes (EE) versus Rab7/LAMP1-positive late endosomes/lysosomes (LE/LY). To functionally characterize ion channels in endolysosomal membranes with the patch-clamp technique, it is important to develop techniques to selectively enlarge the respective organelles. We found here that two small molecules, wortmannin and latrunculin B, enlarge Rab5-positive EE when combined but not Rab7-, LAMP1-, or Rab11 (RE)-positive vesicles. The two compounds act rapidly, specifically, and are readily applicable in contrast to genetic approaches or previously used compounds such as vacuolin, which enlarges EE, RE, and LE/LY. We apply this approach here to measure currents mediated by TRPML channels, in particular TRPML3, which we found to be functionally active in both EE and LE/LY in overexpressing cells as well as in endogenously expressing CD11b+ lung-tissue macrophages.