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J Biol Chem. 1999 Dec 17;274(51):36781-9.

Recycling of furin from the plasma membrane. Functional importance of the cytoplasmic tail sorting signals and interaction with the AP-2 adaptor medium chain subunit.

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  • 1Institut für Virologie der Philipps-Universität Marburg, Robert-Koch Strasse 17, 35037 Marburg, Germany.


The predominant intracellular localization of the eukaryotic subtilisin-like endoprotease furin is the trans-Golgi network (TGN), but a small fraction is also found on the cell surface. Furin on the cell surface is internalized and delivered to the TGN. The identification of three endocytosis motifs, a tyrosine (YKGL(765)) motif, a leucine-isoleucine (LI(760)) motif, and a phenylalanine (Phe(790)) signal, in the furin cytoplasmic domain suggested that endocytosis of furin occurs via an AP-2/clathrin-dependent pathway. Since little is known about proteins containing multiple sorting components in their cytoplasmic domain, the combination of diverse internalization signals in the furin tail raised the question of their individual role. Here we present data showing that the furin tail interacts with the medium (micro2) subunit of the AP-2 plasma membrane-specific adaptor complex in vitro and that this interaction primarily depends on recognition of the tyrosine-based sorting signal and to less extent on the leucine-isoleucine motif. We further provide evidence that the three endocytosis signals are of different functional importance for furin internalization and retrieval to the TGN in vivo, with the tyrosine-based motif being the major determinant, followed by the phenylalanine signal, whereas the leucine-isoleucine motif is only a minor component. Finally, we report that phosphorylation of the furin tail by casein kinase II is not only important for efficient interaction with micro2 and internalization from the plasma membrane but also determines fast retrieval of the protein from the plasma membrane to the TGN.

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