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Proopiomelanocortin (POMC) is a multivalent prohormone that can be processed into at least 7 biologically active peptide hormones. Processing can begin in the trans-Golgi network (TGN) and continues in the secretory granules of the regulated secretory pathway (RSP). Sorting of POMC into these granules is a complex process. Previously, a membrane-associated form of carboxypeptidase E (CPE) was shown to bind to POMC and facilitate its trafficking into these granules. More recently, secretogranin III (SgIII) was also found to affect POMC trafficking. Here, we show by RNA silencing that CPE and SgIII play a synergistic role in the trafficking of POMC to granules of the RSP in AtT20 cells. Reduction of either protein resulted in increased constitutive secretion of POMC and chromogranin A, which was increased even further when both proteins were reduced together, indicative of missorting at the TGN. In SgIII-reduced cells, POMC accumulated in a compartment that cofractionated and colocalized with syntaxin 6, a marker of the TGN, on sucrose density gradients and in immunocytochemistry, respectively, indicating an accumulation of this protein in the presumed sorting compartment. Regulated secretion of ACTH, as a measure of sorting and processing of POMC in mature granules, was reduced in the SgIII down-regulated cells but was increased in the CPE down-regulated cells. These results suggest that multiple sorting systems exist, providing redundancy to ensure the important task of continuous and accurate trafficking of prohormones to the granules of the RSP for the production of peptide hormones.


Niamh X Cawley, Trushar Rathod, Sigrid Young, Hong Lou, Nigel Birch, Y Peng Loh. Carboxypeptidase E and Secretogranin III Coordinately Facilitate Efficient Sorting of Proopiomelanocortin to the Regulated Secretory Pathway in AtT20 Cells. Molecular endocrinology (Baltimore, Md.). 2016 Jan;30(1):37-47

PMID: 26646096

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