Michael Waterman
Faculty Member
Last active: 2/12/2015

Functional expression of bovine 17 alpha-hydroxylase in COS 1 cells is dependent upon the presence of an amino-terminal signal anchor sequence.

Clark BJ, Waterman MR
J Biol Chem. 1992 267 (34): 24568-74

PMID: 1447202

Microsomal forms of eukaryotic cytochrome P450 proteins are integral membrane proteins of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane which are targeted to the ER via the signal recognition particle pathway. A hydrophobic amino terminus serves as a combined signal sequence and major membrane anchor (signal-anchor sequence) for the microsomal P450s. We have examined the insertion of bovine 17 alpha-hydroxylase (P45017 alpha) into the ER of COS 1 cells in order to evaluate the role of membrane insertion of the amino-terminal signal-anchor of microsomal P450s as a functional determinant for these enzymes. Previously, we have shown that deletion of the hydrophobic amino terminus from P45017 alpha reduced membrane targeting and insertion by 5-fold compared with the wild-type protein, abolished enzymatic activity, and resulted in an aberrant CO difference spectrum. In the present study we have replaced the amino terminus of P45017 alpha with two heterologous signal-anchor sequences, one that is similar and one that is very different from the P45017 alpha sequence. The chimeric proteins were expressed in COS 1 cells. Immunoblot analysis of isolated microsomal membranes show that the heterologous signal-anchor sequences functioned to target the P45017 alpha protein to the ER. Enzymatic assays in intact COS 1 cells indicate that both the chimeric proteins are efficient 17 alpha-hydroxylase enzymes. The amino terminus of P45017 alpha was also replaced with a sequence that is not a signal-anchor, and the expressed protein was neither targeted to the ER nor was functional in COS 1 cells. In conclusion, both the structure and catalytic activity of P45017 alpha in COS 1 cells is dependent upon an amino-terminal sequence that functions as a signal-anchor sequence and not upon the precise sequence of the amino terminus.

MeSH Terms (19)

Amino Acid Sequence Animals Base Sequence Cattle Cell Line Cloning, Molecular Endoplasmic Reticulum Kinetics Microsomes Molecular Sequence Data Oligodeoxyribonucleotides Plasmids Protein Conformation Protein Sorting Signals Recombinant Fusion Proteins Restriction Mapping Steroid 17-alpha-Hydroxylase Substrate Specificity Transfection

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