Send to

Choose Destination
J Biol Chem. 1996 Jan 5;271(1):48-55.

Secretory granule content proteins and the luminal domains of granule membrane proteins aggregate in vitro at mildly acidic pH.

Author information

Department of Cell Biology, New York University Medical Center, New York 10016, USA.


A major unresolved issue in the field of secretory granule biogenesis is the extent to which the aggregation of granule content proteins is responsible for the sorting of regulated from constitutively secreted proteins. The aggregation process is postulated to take place in the trans-Golgi network and immature secretory granules as the proteins encounter mildly acidic pH and high calcium concentrations. We have developed in vitro assays that reconstitute the precipitation out of solution of secretory granule content proteins of anterior pituitary gland and adrenal medulla. In the assays, all of the major granule content polypeptides form a precipitate as the pH is titrated below 6.5, and this precipitate can be recovered in the pellet fraction after centrifugation. Addition of calcium is required for the aggregation of chromaffin granule content. In contrast to the proteins secreted by the regulated pathway, the constitutively secreted proteins IgG, albumin, and angiotensinogen, when added to the assays, remain predominantly in the supernatant. Among the individual proteins tested, prolactin is found to aggregate homophilically under these conditions and can drive the co-aggregation of other proteins, such as the chromogranins. Soluble forms of granule membrane proteins, including dopamine beta-hydroxylase and peptidyl glycine alpha-amidating enzyme also co-aggregated with granule content proteins. The results are consistent with the idea that spontaneous aggregation of proteins occurring under ionic conditions similar to those at the sites of granule formation is a property restricted to those proteins packaged in secretory granules. In addition, the association of luminal domains of membrane proteins with content proteins in vitro raises the possibility that analogous interactions between membrane-bound and content proteins also occur during granule formation in intact cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center