CD63 is a component of Weibel-Palade bodies of human endothelial cells

UM Vischer and DD Wagner


Weibel-Palade bodies are secretory granules of vascular endothelial cells specialized in the storage of von Willebrand factor (vWF) and P- selectin, two adhesion proteins that can be rapidly mobilized to the cell surface by exocytosis in response to thrombin or other agonists. In this study, we attempted to identify additional components of Weibel- Palade bodies by raising monoclonal antibodies to these granules, purified by cell fractionation. One antibody, 2C6, was found to be specific for CD63, a membrane glycoprotein previously described in the lysosomes of platelets and other cell types. The immunopurified 2C6 antigen was recognized by an anti-CD63 reference antibody, 2.28, by Western blotting. Also, the biosynthetic profile of the 2C6 antigen in endothelial cells showed a nascent molecular mass and a glycosylation pattern identical to that of CD63. Immunofluorescence staining with 2C6 showed the lysosomes, and also elongated structures identified as Weibel-Palade bodies by their shape, distribution, and positive staining with anti-vWF antibodies, CD63 was also found by Western blotting of subcellular fractions highly enriched in Weibel-Palade bodies. Our results indicate that CD63 colocalizes with vWF and P- selectin in the Weibel-Palade bodies of endothelial cells, and together with these adhesion proteins it could be rapidly expressed on the cell surface in areas of vascular injury and inflammation.