Journal of Cell Science vol:107 ( Pt 9) pages:2403-2416
The novel NSP gene was previously shown to encode, among a variety of neuroendocrine cell types, two 3'-overlapping transcripts, a 3.4 kb one for NSP-A (776 amino acids) and a 1.8 kb one for NSP-C (208 amino acids). The deduced proteins, which were predicted to possess distinct amino-terminal regions, appeared to exhibit some architectural resemblance to known neuroendocrine proteins. In this paper the biochemical characterization and subcellular localization of the two proteins is addressed. In vitro translation of NSP-A and -C RNA produced proteins of about 135 and 23 kDa, respectively. Proteins of similar molecular mass were also detected in immunoprecipitation and western blot analyses of neural and endocrine cells using specific anti-NSP-A or -C antisera; some heterogeneity of NSP-A was observed. NSP-A, but not NSP-C, appeared to be highly phosphorylated and preferentially on serine residues. In immunocytochemical studies, we demonstrated that NSP-A and -C are associated with the endoplasmic reticulum; NSP-A was found to co-localize with SERCA2b, a membrane-associated Ca(2+)-ATPase of the endoplasmic reticulum. In Purkinje cells, we found NSP-immunostaining in the perikaryon, the extensive dendritic tree and the axon, also suggesting association with the smooth endoplasmic reticulum. Biochemical studies of NSP-A provided evidence that NSP-A is strongly associated with microsomal membranes and analysis of deletion mutants of NSP-A revealed that the hydrophobic carboxy-terminal portion of the protein, which is also present in NSP-C, is critical for membrane binding. Through database searches, finally, we found two different NSP-related sequences, one in a sequenced region of human chromosome 19, and the second in a human, pancreatic islet-derived partial cDNA, suggesting that the NSP gene is the prototype of a larger gene family. The results of our studies seem to indicate that the NSP-encoded proteins are novel, membrane-anchored components of the endoplasmic reticulum for which we propose the name reticulons.