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The imino sugar N-butyldeoxynojirimycin inhibits the N-linked oligosaccharide processing enzymes alpha-glucosidases I and II, and the ceramide specific glucosyltransferase which catalyses the first step in glucosphingolipid biosynthesis. We have studied the effects of this compound on the ultrastructure of HL-60 cells to identify novel activities of this compound. Treatment of HL-60 cells with this imino sugar results in several morphological changes within the cell, none of which result in cytotoxicity. The plasma membrane stains heavily with potassium ferrocyanide within 30 min following addition of the compound to the medium, and there is then a time dependent involvement of all other intracellular membranes. Secretory granules become enlarged and lose their dense core morphology and appear either empty and vacuolated or have low density contents. However, the most striking effect of NB-DNJ treatment is on the Golgi apparatus. The Golgi exhibits a time-dependent change from typical Golgi morphology to a structure almost completely devoid of cisternae and consisting predominantly of vesicles. All the observed changes are fully reversible on withdrawal of the compound.


Journal article


Biol Cell

Publication Date





123 - 131


1-Deoxynojirimycin, Cell Membrane, Cytoplasmic Granules, Enzyme Inhibitors, Glucosyltransferases, Glycoside Hydrolase Inhibitors, Golgi Apparatus, HL-60 Cells, Humans, Kinetics, Microscopy, Electron