Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Cell Biol. 2003 May 12;161(3):521-33. Epub 2003 May 5.

Proprotein convertase cleavage liberates a fibrillogenic fragment of a resident glycoprotein to initiate melanosome biogenesis.

Author information

  • 1Dept. of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6082, USA.


Lysosome-related organelles are cell type-specific intracellular compartments with distinct morphologies and functions. The molecular mechanisms governing the formation of their unique structural features are not known. Melanosomes and their precursors are lysosome-related organelles that are characterized morphologically by intralumenal fibrous striations upon which melanins are polymerized. The integral membrane protein Pmel17 is a component of the fibrils and can nucleate their formation in the absence of other pigment cell-specific proteins. Here, we show that formation of intralumenal fibrils requires cleavage of Pmel17 by a furin-like proprotein convertase (PC). As in the generation of amyloid, proper cleavage of Pmel17 liberates a lumenal domain fragment that becomes incorporated into the fibrils; longer Pmel17 fragments generated in the absence of PC activity are unable to form organized fibrils. Our results demonstrate that PC-dependent cleavage regulates melanosome biogenesis by controlling the fibrillogenic activity of a resident protein. Like the pathologic process of amyloidogenesis, the formation of other tissue-specific organelle structures may be similarly dependent on proteolytic activation of physiological fibrillogenic substrates.

Comment in

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk