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EMBO J. 1988 Sep;7(9):2697-703.

The structure of cytochrome b561, a secretory vesicle-specific electron transport protein.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas 75235.


Cytochrome b561 is a transmembrane electron transport protein that is specific to a subset of secretory vesicles containing catecholamines and amidated peptides. This protein is thought to supply reducing equivalents to the intravesicular enzymes dopamine-beta-hydroxylase and alpha-peptide amidase. We have purified cytochrome b561 from bovine adrenal chromaffin granules by reverse phase chromatography and have determined internal amino acid sequences from peptides. Complementary oligonucleotides were used to isolate two cDNA clones from a bovine brain library. The structure predicted by the sequences of these cDNAs suggests a highly hydrophobic protein of 273 amino acids which spans the membrane six times with little extramembranous sequence. Cytochrome b561 is not homologous to any other cytochrome and thus represents a new class of electron carriers. RNA blotting experiments indicate that cytochrome b561 is expressed in the adrenal medulla and all brain regions of the cow, but not in visceral organs. This result agrees well with the putative function of this unique cytochrome and with the notion that this protein is localized to large dense-core synaptic vesicles.

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