Selective degradation of accumulated secretory proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum: A possible clearance pathway for abnormal tropoelastin

Elaine C. Davis, Robert P. Mecham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

The specific pathway of tropoelastin secretion was investigated in fetal calf ligamentum nuchae (FCL) cells using brefeldin A (BFA) to disrupt the secretory pathway. Electron microscopic studies of BFA-treated FCL cells showed ultrastructural changes consistent with the reported effects of BFA on intracellular organelles. When FCL cells were labeled with [3H]leucine in the presence of BFA, radiolabeled tropoelastin was not secreted, nor was there an intracellular accumulation of the protein. In contrast, fibronectin accumulated within the cells in the presence of BFA. Northern analysis of mRNA levels in FCL cells showed that the message for tropoelastin was unaffected by BFA treatment. Pulse chase experiments conducted in the presence of BFA demonstrated that the tropoelastin retained within the cells was rapidly degraded. Ammonium chloride, nocodazole, and cycloheximide had no effect on the degradation of tropoelastin, indicating that the degradation did not involve the endosome/lysosome pathway, movement via microtubules, or a short-lived protein, respectively. Incubation of FCL cells with BFA in the presence of N-acetyl-Leu-Leu-norleucinal, however, allowed tropoelastin to steadily accumulate in the cells. Cells pulsed in the presence of BFA alone showed that tropoelastin initially accumulates within the cells for approximately 1 h prior to being degraded, thus indicating that a critical threshold of tropoelastin must be reached before degradation can occur. Results from this study provide evidence for selective degradation of a soluble secreted protein by a cysteine protease following retention of the protein in the endoplasmic reticulum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3787-3794
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume271
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 16 1996

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