Characterization of senescence- and apoptosis-dependent forms of terminin as derived from a precursor found in replicating and nonreplicating cells.
Previously we have reported the production of a monoclonal antibody (Mab 1.2) which recognizes a cytoplasmic protein, terminin, in three different molecular weights: 90 (Tp90), 60 (Tp60), and 30 kDa (Tp30) forms. Further characterization shows that Tp90 is found in young growing and nongrowing quiescent fibroblasts, while Tp60 is found in permanently growth-arrested senescent fibroblasts and Tp30 in cells committed to undergo programmed cell death (apoptosis). In tissue, Tp90 is found in embryonic brain; later, in neonatal brain after terminal differentiation is completed, only Tp60 is found. Tp30 is found in crude liver fractions extracted without the protective action of protease inhibitors. In all these circumstances, Tp90 is mostly seen in the detergent-soluble fraction, while Tp60 and Tp30 are detergent-insoluble. We now report that in cultured fibroblasts, as well as in tissues such as brain and liver, Tp60 and Tp30 are derived from the Tp90 polypeptide, indicated by the fact that only the Tp90 species is identified by both immunoblotting and immunoprecipitation assays, when the cell or tissue extracts are prepared in the presence of protease inhibitors. Further evidence shows that immunoprecipitation of in vitro translation products from brain, liver, and cultured fibroblasts also present a single band of Tp90 polypeptide. Pulse-chase experiments show that during apoptosis, Tp90 is processed to Tp60, and eventually to Tp30. However, when the total protein extracts are fractionated, only Tp90 is found in the detergent-soluble fraction, with diminishing quantities during the time course of apoptosis, and Tp30, in contrast, is found as the only protein species in the insoluble fraction, with increasing quantity during the same time course. Newly processed Tp60 is not found in either of the fractions, reflecting its loss during the fractionation procedure. Limited one-dimensional peptide mapping of Tp90 yields three different bands at 30, 28, and 25 kDa, but only the one at 30 kDa is recognized by Mab 1.2. These results lead us to suggest that terminin protein is synthesized in the Tp90 form, and cleaved to lower molecular weight forms depends upon different physiologic conditions, with Tp60 processed in the terminally differentiated or senescent state and rapidly to Tp30 in apoptosis. Our findings further suggest that Tp90's processing to either Tp60 or Tp30 produces insoluble protein forms. Furthermore, the presence of Tp90 in nonapoptotic (either replicating or nonreplicating) cells may reflect the absence of necessary proteolytic action required for the execution of apoptosis. Future experiments will allow us to determine the nature of this proteolytic action, as well as whether this action is due to the autocatalytic action of Tp90 or by other endogenous proteases, and then to determine the significance of this biochemical action in cells.
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