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Mol Biol Cell. 1995 Aug;6(8):967-80.

Phorbol ester induces the rapid processing of cell surface heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor: conversion from juxtacrine to paracrine growth factor activity.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Osaka University Medical School, Japan.


Vero cell heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor (HB-EGF) is synthesized as a 20- to 30-kDa membrane-anchored HB-EGF precursor (proHB-EGF). Localization and processing of proHB-EGF, both constitutive and 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate (TPA)-inducible, was examined in Vero cells overexpressing recombinant HB-EGF (Vero H cells). Flow cytometry and fluorescence immunostaining demonstrated that Vero cell proHB-EGF is cell surface-associated and localized at the interface of cell to cell contact. Cell surface biotinylation and immunoprecipitation detected a 20- to 30-kDa heterogeneous proHB-EGF species. Vero H cell surface proHB-EGF turned over constitutively with a half-life of 1.5 h. Some of the 20- to 30-kDa cell surface-associated proHB-EGF was processed and a 14-kDa species of bioactive HB-EGF was released slowly, but most of the proHB-EGF was internalized, displaying a diffuse immunofluorescent staining pattern and accumulation of proHB-EGF in endosomes. Addition of TPA induced a rapid processing of proHB-EGF at a Pro148-Val149 site with a half-life of 7min. The TPA effect was abrogated by the protein kinase C inhibitors, staurosporine and H7. Kinetic analysis showed that loss of cell surface proHB-EGF is maximal at 30 min after addition of TPA and that proHB-EGF is resynthesized and the initial cell surface levels are regained within 12-24 h. Loss of cell surface proHB-EGF was concomitant with appearance of 14- and 19-kDa soluble HB-EGF species in conditioned medium. Vero H cell-associated proHB-EGF is a juxtacrine growth factor for EP170.7 cells in coculture. Processing of proHB-EGF resulted in loss of juxtacrine activity and a simultaneous increase in soluble HB-EGF paracrine mitogenic activity. It was concluded that processing regulates HB-EGF bioactivity by converting it from a cell-surface juxtacrine growth factor to a processed, released soluble paracrine growth factor.

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