M-Sec promotes membrane nanotube formation by interacting with Ral and the exocyst complex

Koji Hase, Shunsuke Kimura, Hiroyuki Takatsu, Masumi Ohmae, Sayaka Kawano, Hiroshi Kitamura, Masatoshi Ito, Hiroshi Watarai, C. Clayton Hazelett, Charles Yeaman, Hiroshi Ohno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

259 Citations (Scopus)


Cell-cell communication is essential for the development and homeostasis of multicellular organisms. Recently, a new type of cell-cell communication was discovered that is based on the formation of thin membranous nanotubes between remote cells. These long membrane tethers, termed tunneling nanotubes (TNTs), form an intercellular conduit and have been shown to enable the transport of various cellular components and signals. However, the molecular basis for TNT formation remains to be elucidated. Here we report that a mammalian protein, M-Sec, induces de novo formation of numerous membrane protrusions extending from the plasma membrane, some of which tether onto adjacent cells and subsequently form TNT-like structures. Depletion of M-Sec by RNA interference (RNAi) greatly reduced endogenous TNT formation as well as intercellular propagation of a calcium flux in a macrophage cell line. Furthermore, blockage of the interaction of M-Sec with Ral and the exocyst complex, which serves as a downstream effector of Ral, attenuated the formation of membrane nanotubes. Our results reveal that M-Sec functions as a key regulator of membrane nanotube formation through interaction with the Ral-exocyst pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1427-1432
Number of pages6
JournalNature Cell Biology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Dec
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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