Immune cells secrete a wide array of cytokines and express surface receptors to communicate with their environment. In cells, these molecules are transported by vesicles that bud off from the one intracellular compartment and move to, dock, and finally fuse with another compartment. SNARE proteins are essential for membrane fusion for all these steps of vesicle trafficking. However, the main regulators of intracellular trafficking in dendritic cells are widely understudied, because SNAREs are functionally redundant and highly abundant within cells.
Danielle Verboogen, group Geert van den Bogaart, theme Cancer development and immune defense, developed a Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) technique to measure SNARE-complex formation in primary human blood cells. Their data shows that secretion of interleukin-6 by dendritic cells is regulated not only biosynthetically, but also at the level of intracellular trafficking via complex formation of specific sets of SNARE proteins.
Verboogen, D.R.J., González Mancha, N., Ter Beest, M., & van den Bogaart, G. (2017) Fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy reveals rerouting of SNARE trafficking driving dendritic cell activation. Elife. 6: e23525