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J Biol Chem. 1991 Apr 15;266(11):7155-65.

Calreticulin, and not calsequestrin, is the major calcium binding protein of smooth muscle sarcoplasmic reticulum and liver endoplasmic reticulum.

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Cardiovascular Disease Research Group, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


The distribution of calsequestrin and calreticulin in smooth muscle and non-muscle tissues was investigated. Immunoblots of endoplasmic reticulum proteins probed with anti-calreticulin and anti-calsequestrin antibodies revealed that only calreticulin is present in the rat liver endoplasmic reticulum. Membrane fractions isolated from uterine smooth muscle, which are enriched in sarcoplasmic reticulum, contain a protein band which is immunoreactive with anti-calreticulin but not with anti-calsequestrin antibodies. The presence of calreticulin in these membrane fractions was further confirmed by 45Ca2+ overlay and "Stains-All" techniques. Calreticulin was also localized to smooth muscle sarcoplasmic reticulum by the indirect immunofluorescence staining of smooth muscle cells with anti-calreticulin antibodies. Furthermore, both liver and uterine smooth muscle were found to contain high levels of mRNA encoding calreticulin, whereas no mRNA encoding calsequestrin was detected. We have employed an ammonium sulfate precipitation followed by Mono Q fast protein liquid chromatography, as a method by which calsequestrin and calreticulin can be isolated from whole tissue homogenates, and by which they can be clearly resolved from one another, even where present in the same tissue. Calreticulin was isolated from rabbit and bovine liver, rabbit brain, rabbit and porcine uterus, and bovine pancreas and was identified by its amino-terminal amino acid sequence. Calsequestrin cannot be detected in preparations from whole liver tissue, and only very small amounts of calsequestrin are detectable in ammonium sulfate extracts of uterine smooth muscle. We conclude that calreticulin, and not calsequestrin, is a major Ca2+ binding protein in liver endoplasmic reticulum and in uterine smooth muscle sarcoplasmic reticulum. Calsequestrin and calreticulin may perform parallel functions in the lumen of the sarcoplasmic and endoplasmic reticulum.

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