Microinjecting FM4-64 validates it as a marker of the endocytic pathway in plants

P.A.C. van Gisbergen, A. Esseling-Ozdoba, J.W. Vos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The amphiphilic dye FM4-64 is used to investigate endocytosis and vesicle trafficking in living eukaryotic cells. The standing hypothesis is that it is inserted into the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane and, from there, is passed on to intracellular membrane compartments by endocytosis. We tested this hypothesis by microinjecting FM4-64 into the cytoplasm and vacuole of Nicotiana tabacum BY-2 suspension culture cells and Tradescantia virginiana stamen hair cells. We found that the dye did not label any membranes when injected into the cytoplasm, but clearly labelled the tonoplast when injected directly into the vacuole. However, because the dye is pH-sensitive, the fluorescence intensity between the plasma membrane and tonoplast varied. We conclude that FM4-64 is a specific marker for the endocytic pathway. Nevertheless, little is known about the molecular interactions of FM4-64 with these particular phospholipid membrane leaflets. We, therefore, appeal for biochemical research to determine which membrane lipids FM4-64 interacts with
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-290
JournalJournal of Microscopy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • vesicle trafficking
  • plasma-membrane
  • cells
  • signal
  • ph

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