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J Biol Chem. 2003 Sep 12;278(37):35718-24. Epub 2003 Jul 8.

Secretion of FGF-16 requires an uncleaved bipartite signal sequence.

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  • 1Age Dimension Research Center, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and Institute for Applied Biochemistry, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.


Fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-16 is one of the rare secreted proteins that do not possess a cleavable signal sequence. Here we describe our examination of the mechanism and structural requirements for the secretion of FGF-16 from COS-1 transfectants. Inhibition of its secretion by brefeldin A and identification of an N-glycan on the secreted form confirmed that FGF-16 is secreted by means of the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus, as are secreted proteins having a conventional cleavable signal sequence. Deletion of its N terminus abolished secretion of FGF-16. When chimerized with prolactin, however, the N-terminal sequence of FGF-16 was not able to mediate secretion of the chimera. Point mutations that made the N terminus less hydrophobic had little effect on secretion of FGF-16, whereas making the central hydrophobic region less hydrophobic abolished secretion. Within cells, an unsecretable FGF-16 N-terminal deletion mutant was distributed in the perinuclear region and overlapped the distribution of the Golgi apparatus. Mutants with less hydrophobic central regions were distributed evenly throughout the cytosol. Collectively, these results indicate that FGF-16 employs a unique bipartite signal sequence (i.e. both the N-terminal region and central hydrophobic region) that is not cleaved, although it shares the same secretory machinery used by secreted proteins with cleavable signal sequences.

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