The role of PC2 in prosomatostatin (PSS) processing was investigated in GH3/GH4C1 pituitary cells. These cells are sparsely granulated, express different amounts of PC2 and no PC1. We described heterologous processing of rat PSS (rPSS) co-expressed with PC2 in stably transfected cells, correlate PC2 protein levels under different conditions of transfection with efficiency of PSS processing to somatostatin-14 (SS-14), determine the effect of modulating cell granularity on enzyme expression and PSS processing, and compare the relative potency of PC2 with that of PC1, PSS and cleavage products were monitored by HPLC and radioimmunoassay of SS-like immunoreactivity (SSLI). Radioimmunoassay analysis of N-terminal PC2-like immunoreactivity (PC2 LI) in GH4C1:rPSS, GH4C1:rPSS + PC2 and GH3:rPSS transfectants showed a gradient of PC2 protein of 1:2.6:3.4 in cell extracts and 1:4.7:9 in secretion media from these cells respectively. The concentration of PC2 protein correlated with SS-14 conversion efficiency was 36 +/- 3% in GH4C1:rPSS cells, 56 +/- 7% in GH4C1:rPSS-PC2 cells and 100% in GH3:rPSS cells. Treatment of GH4C1:rPSS + PC2 cells with epidermal growth factor, insulin, and beta-estradiol to induce granules, significantly increased basal and forskolin-stimulated co-release of SS LI and PC2 LI, but had no influence on SS-14 processing efficiency. Hormone treatment led to a small increase in the ratio of mature PC2 (68 kDa) to proPC2 (75 kDa) forms. PC1 stably transfected in GH4C1 cells produced significantly greater SS-14 conversion (62% in cells, 66% in media) compared with PC2 transfectants (53% in cells, 47% in media) These results provide the first proof that PC2 can effect dibasic processing of mammalian PSS, and, along with PC1, qualifies as an authentic SS-14 convertase. The activity of PC2 requires the milieu of the secretory cell but not the secretory granule.
We have previously reported that rat prosomatostatin (rPSS) undergoes conversion at Arg decreases and Lys decreases monobasic sites to SS-28 and PSS-(1-10) respectively in COS-7 cells, and have proposed furin or a related enzyme of the constitutive secretory pathway as the endoproteinase responsible. Here we have tested directly the ability of furin to cleave rPSS at the two monobasic sites as well as at the RXRK dibasic site of SS-14 conversion (a furin motif, except for Lys substituting for Arg at P1). Recombinant vaccinia virus (VV) vectors were used to co-express rPSS with graded doses of furin in COS-7 cells and LoVo colon carcinoma cells deficient in furin. PSS and cleavage products in cell extracts and media were characterized by HPLC analysis and C-terminal [SS-14-like immunoreactivity (SS-14 LI)] and N-terminal [PSS-(1-10) LI] directed radioimmunoassays. There was a dose-dependent increase in SS-28 production from rPSS by furin in COS-7 cells from 29% (control) to 58% (high-dose furin) associated with a progressive decrease in unprocessed PSS from > 60% to approximately 20% of total SS-14 LI. Significant SS-14 production occurred only at high levels of furin infection. Control LoVo cells infected with VV:rPSS exhibited production of approximately 21% SS-28, approximately 15% PSS-(1-10) and 3.5% SS-14. Infection of LoVo cells with VV:hfurin (hfurin = human furin) enhanced SS-28 production to 30-34%. SS-14 synthesis also increased to 25-40%, probably by conversion from SS-28. Overexpression of furin in COS-7 or LoVo cells failed to increase PSS-(1-10) production. These results show that furin is a candidate SS-28 convertase. Arginine is the preferred residue at the P1 site of furin cleavage. Furin does not process rPSS to PSS-(1-10), suggesting the existence of another monobasic convertase with a preference for Lys rather than Arg at P1. Such an enzyme could also explain the presence of endogenous SS-28-, PSS-(1-10)- and SS-14-producing activities in LoVo cells.
The somatostatin (SS) gene is transcriptionally regulated via the cyclic AMP (cAMP) response element (CRE), located in the proximal promoter (-41 to -48 bp). We have previously reported that glucocorticoids induce dose-dependent cell-specific alterations in the steady-state SS mRNA level. Here we have investigated direct transcriptional control of the SS gene by glucocorticoids. We have examined transcriptional interaction between glucocorticoids and the cAMP signalling pathway and mapped the 5′ upstream regulatory region of the SS gene involved in glucocorticoid transactivation. Transcriptional regulation was determined by analysis of chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) activity in PC12 rat pheochromocytoma cells and A126-1B2 (protein kinase A-deficient mutant PC12) cells, by acute transfection of 5′ flanking SS DNA (- 750, -250 and -71 bp) ligated to the reporter (CAT) gene. Dexamethasone (DEX) induced a dose-dependent 2.2-fold stimulation of SS gene transcription in PC12 cells, but not in A126-1B2 cells. Other steroid and thyroid hormones tested, and retinoic acid, were ineffective, while cAMP and forskolin stimulated gene transcription 4-5-fold in PC12 cells but not in A126-1B2 cells. DEX exerted an additive effect on cAMP-induced gene transcription. Deletion of the promoter from -750 to -71 bp (but not from -750 to -250 bp) abolished all stimulatory effects of DEX without affecting cAMP responsiveness. Mutation of the CRE abrogated both DEX- and cAMP-dependent gene enhancement. Gel electrophoretic mobility shift assays confirmed that the -250 to -71 bp region of the SS promoter (but not the -71 to +55 bp domain) binds specifically to a glucocorticoid response element-sensitive nuclear protein(s) from PC12 cells, suggesting a putative glucocorticoid receptor interaction with SS promoter DNA. We conclude that glucocorticoids regulate SS gene transcription positively. Glucocorticoid-induced transactivation shows dependence on protein kinase. A activity, and may be mediated via protein-protein interaction between the glucocorticoid receptor and the CRE binding protein. DNA sequences upstream from the CRE between -250 and -71 bp in the SS promoter appear to be the target of glucocorticoid action.
Pharmacological studies have suggested that the somatostatin (SS) receptor is heterogeneous and exhibits SS-14-and SS-28-selective subtypes. Whether such subtypes arise from molecular heterogeneity of the receptor protein has not been definitively established. Previous reports characterizing the molecular properties of the SS receptor by the cross-linking approach have yielded divergent size estimates ranging from 27 kDa to 200 kDa. In order to resolve this discrepancy, as well as to determine whether SS-14 and SS-28 interact with specific receptor proteins, we have cross-linked radioiodinated derivatives of [125I-Tyr11]SS-14 (T*-SS-14) and [Leu8,D-Trp22,125I-Tyr25]SS-28 (LTT*-SS-28) to membrane SS receptors in rat brain, pituitary, exocrine pancreas and adrenal cortex using a number of chemical and photoaffinity cross-linking agents. The labelled cross-linked receptor proteins were analysed by SDS/PAGE under reducing conditions followed by autoradiography. Our findings indicate that the pattern of specifically labelled cross-linked SS receptor proteins is sensitive to the concentration of chemical cross-linking agents such as disuccinimidyl suberate and dithiobis-(succinimidyl propionate). Labelled high-molecular-mass complexes of cross-linked receptor-ligand proteins were observed only when high concentrations of these cross-linkers were employed. Using optimized low concentrations of cross-linkers, however, two major labelled bands of 58 +/- 3 kDa and 27 +/- 2 kDa were detected. These two bands were identified as specifically labelled SS receptor proteins subsequent to cross-linking with a number of photoaffinity cross-linking agents as well. We demonstrate here that the 58 kDa protein is the major SS receptor protein in the rat pituitary, adrenal and exocrine pancreas, whereas the 27 kDa moiety represents the principal form in the brain. Additionally, the presence of a minor specifically labelled band of 32 kDa was detected uniquely in the brain, and a minor labelled protein of 42 kDa was observed in the pancreas. The labelling pattern obtained with LTT*-SS-28 was identical to that observed with T*-SS-14. Labelling of the 27 kDa band by either ligand was inhibited by SS-14 and SS-28 in a dose-dependent manner. Densitometric quantification showed that SS-14 exhibited greater than 2-fold greater potency than SS-28 for inhibiting the labelling of the 27 kDa species. These findings emphasize the need for careful interpretation of cross-linking data obtained for SS receptors, and provide evidence for molecular heterogeneity and for a tissue-specific distribution of the two principal SS receptor proteins.