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J Biol Chem. 1986 May 25;261(15):6853-9.

Regulation of catabolism of microinjected ribonuclease A. Identification of residues 7-11 as the essential pentapeptide.

Erratum in

  • J Biol Chem 1986 Oct 5;261(28):13387.


We have identified a pentapeptide region of microinjected ribonuclease A that is required for enhanced degradation of this protein during serum withdrawal. We introduced reductively methylated [3H]ribonuclease A, [3H]ribonuclease S-protein (residues 21-124), and [3H]ribonuclease S-peptide (residues 1-20) into the cytosol of human fibroblasts by red cell-mediated microinjection and osmotic lysis of pinosomes. The degradative rates of ribonuclease A and ribonuclease S-peptide are increased 2-fold upon withdrawal of serum, while catabolism of ribonuclease S-protein is not regulated in this manner. Certain fragments of ribonuclease S-peptide are also degraded in a serum-dependent fashion (residues 1-14 and 4-13), while other fragments are not (residues 1-10 and 2-8). [3H]Ribonuclease S-peptide is cleaved into two smaller radioactive peptides during loading into red cell ghosts. We tentatively identified the larger fragment as residues 7-11 based on its molecular weight determined by Sephadex chromatography in the presence of 8 M urea combined with sequential Edman degradation to identify the position of radioactive lysines. The smaller peptide fragment appears to be the amino-terminal dipeptide, Lys-Glu, and/or residues 7-8, Lys-Phe. After microinjection into fibroblasts, the pentapeptide is degraded at an enhanced rate in the absence of serum, while degradation of the dipeptide is not affected. We confirmed that residues 7-11 constitute the larger hydrolysis product of S-peptide by synthesizing this pentapeptide and radiolabeling it by reductive methylation. It migrated at the expected position after Sephadex chromatography in 8 M urea and was further hydrolyzed only slightly during loading into red cells. Finally, degradation of this pentapeptide after injection into fibroblasts was enhanced 2-fold upon serum withdrawal. These results, combined with our other recent studies (McElligott, M. A., Miao, P., and Dice, J. F. (1985) J. Biol. Chem. 260, 11986-11993), suggest that the pentapeptide, Lys-Phe-Glu-Arg-Gln, targets microinjected ribonuclease A to lysosomes for enhanced degradation during serum deprivation.

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