In addition to its extracellular action, there is evidence that acidic fibroblast growth factor (aFGF) acts inside cells. To identify intracellular proteins interacting with aFGF, we screened a HeLa cell library in the yeast two-hybrid system using pLex-aFGF as a bait. A clone binding to aFGF, but not to the non-mitogenic mutant aFGF-K132E, was isolated and characterized. The insert contained an open reading frame corresponding to a novel protein of 42 kDa. The protein, termed aFGF intracellular binding protein (FIBP), is mainly hydrophilic and does not contain an N-terminal signal sequence. In vitro-translated FIBP bound specifically to a fusion protein of maltose-binding protein and aFGF. FIBP became post-translationally associated with microsomes added to the cell-free protein synthesizing system, and the membrane-associated protein bound aFGF with high efficiency. Immunoblots and fluorescence microscopy demonstrated that the protein is present in nuclei and, to a lesser extent, associated with mitochondria and other cytoplasmic membranes. The possibility is discussed that FIBP may be involved in the mitogenic action of aFGF.
The nucleotide sequences described in this paper have been submitted to GeneBank database under accession numbers AF010187 (human FIBP) and AF010188 (simian FIBP).