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Critical Reviews™ in Immunology

Impact factor: 3.698

ISSN Print: 1040-8401
ISSN Online: 2162-6472

Critical Reviews™ in Immunology

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevImmunol.2017020025
Forthcoming Article

Emerging roles of granule recycling in mast cell plasticity and homeostasis

Juan A. Flores
University of Seville
Santiago Balseiro-Gomez
University of Seville
Eva Ales
University of Seville


Secretory granules (SGs) of mast cells (MCs) release their contents to mediate many biological events and a variety of inflammatory diseases and have important protective roles in innate host defence and pathological functions in allergic reactions and anaphylaxis. There are two modes of MC degranulation during the release of granule contents to the extracellular environment. Anaphylactic degranulation (AND) after IgE-mediated activation is characterized by a rapid swelling and fusion of MC granules as well as abrupt mediators release. Piecemeal degranulation (PMD) is a slow and selective secretion of distinct granule mediators by vesicles shuttling from the granule compartment to the plasma membrane, and it is associated with several chronic diseases. Following degranulation, endocytosis is a fundamental biological event that is necessary to recycle granules and maintain the secretory response during repetitive stimulation. Rapid endocytosis through transient fusion (kiss-and-run, cavicapture and compound exo-endocytosis) has been described in MCs and can also result in the selective release of granule contents. In summary, there are several possible exo-endocytic mechanisms for the control of the kinetics and magnitude of transmitter release, and each mechanism is associated with a different impact on granule replenishment, cell recovery, and consequently MC function under both normal and pathological conditions.