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J Biol Chem. 2000 Jan 21;275(3):1920-9.

Protein-disulfide isomerase (PDI) in FRTL5 cells. pH-dependent thyroglobulin/PDI interactions determine a novel PDI function in the post-endoplasmic reticulum of thyrocytes.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Biochimie, Ingénierie des Protéines, UMR 6560, Institut Fédératif Jean Roche, Université de la Méditerranée, Faculté de Médecine-Nord, Boulevard Pierre Dramard, 13916 Marseille Cedex 20, France.


Thyroglobulin (TG) is secreted by the thyrocytes into the follicular lumen of the thyroid. After maturation and hormone formation, TG is endocytosed and delivered to lysosomes. Quality control mechanisms may occur during this bidirectional traffic since 1) several molecular chaperones are cosecreted with TG in vivo, and 2) lysosomal targeting of immature TG is thought to be prevented via the interaction, in acidic conditions, between the Ser(789)-Met(1172) TG hormonogenic domain (BD) and an unidentified membrane receptor. We investigated the secretion and cell surface expression of PDI and other chaperones in the FRTL5 thyroid cell line, and then studied the characteristics of the interaction between TG and PDI. We demonstrated that PDI, but also other chaperones such as calnexin and KDEL-containing proteins are exposed at the cell surface. We observed on living cells or membrane preparations that PDI specifically binds TG in acidic conditions, and that only BD is involved in binding. Surface plasmon resonance analysis of TG/PDI interactions indicated: 1) that PDI bound TG but only in acidic conditions, and that it preferentially recognized immature molecules, and 2) BD is involved in binding even if cysteine-rich modules are deleted. The notion that PDI acts as an "escort" for immature TG in acidic post-endoplasmic reticulum compartments is discussed.

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