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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1993 Jun 11;1157(2):147-54.

Cleavage of the alpha 1-microglobulin-bikunin precursor is localized to the Golgi apparatus of rat liver cells.

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  • 1Department of Medical and Physiological Chemistry, University of Lund, Sweden.


alpha 1-Microglobulin, a plasma protein with immunoregulatory properties, and bikunin, the light chain of the proteinase inhibitors inter-alpha-inhibitor and pre-alpha-inhibitor, are translated as a precursor protein from the same mRNA. The cosynthesis of alpha 1-microglobulin and bikunin is unique compared to other proproteins such as procomplement components and prohormones, since alpha 1-microglobulin and bikunin have no known functional connection. Different forms of intracellular rat liver alpha 1-microglobulin were isolated and characterized by amino acid sequence analysis, lectin binding and glycosidase treatment. Their subcellular distribution was studied by Nycodenz and sucrose gradient centrifugation, pulse-chase experiments, and electrophoresis with subsequent immunoblotting, using pro-C3 and prohaptoglobin as reference proteins. Two alpha 1-microglobulin-bikunin precursors (40 and 42 kDa), containing one and two N-linked oligosaccharides, respectively, were detected in the endoplasmic reticulum. After transport to the Golgi apparatus, the precursors were cleaved, probably C-terminal to the sequence Arg-Ala-Arg-Arg immediately preceding the bikunin part, yielding free sialylated 28 kDa alpha 1-microglobulin, representing the mature protein. The cleavage was almost complete in phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase-enriched membranes, previously identified as a post-Golgi compartment. A fourth intracellular form of alpha 1-microglobulin, 26 kDa, lacked sialic acid. None of the intracellular forms carried the yellow-brown chromophore associated with alpha 1-microglobulin when purified from serum and urine, suggesting that this chromophore becomes linked to the protein after its secretion from the liver cells.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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