Preprosomatostatin-I (PPSS-I) is processed in anglerfish islets to release a 14-residue somatostatin (SS-14). However, very little is known regarding other processing events that affect PPSS-I. This is the first study to identify and quantify the levels of nonsomatostatin products generated as a result of processing of this somatostatin precursor in living islet tissue. The products of PPSS-I processing in anglerfish islet tissue were identified in radiolabeling studies using a number of criteria. These criteria included immunoreactivity, specific radiolabeling by selected amino acids, radiolabel sequencing, and chromatographic comparison to isolated, structurally characterized fragments of anglerfish PPSS-I using reverse-phase high performance liquid chromatography. Intact prosomatostatin-I (aPSS-I) was isolated from tissue incubated with [3H]tryptophan and [14C]leucine. Significant 14C radioactivity was observed in the products of 11 of the first 44 sequencer cycles in positions consistent with the generation of a 96-residue prosomatostatin. These results indicate that signal cleavage occurs after the cysteine located 25 residues from the initiator Met of PPSS-I, resulting in a signal peptide 25 amino acids in length. Nonsomatostatin-containing fragments of the precursor were also found in tissue incubated with a mixture of 3H-amino acids. Only a small quantity of the dodecapeptide representing residues 69-80 in the prohormone was found (10 nmol/g tissue). Two other fragments of aPSS-I, also observed to be present in low abundance, were found to correspond to residues 1-27 (16 nmol/g tissue) and to residues 1-67 (7 nmol/g tissue) of aPSS-I. No evidence for the presence of the fragment corresponding to residues 29-67 was found. However, large quantities of SS-14 were observed (287 nmol/g tissue), indicating that the major site of aPSS-I cleavage is at the basic dipeptide immediately preceding SS-14. Recovery of much lower levels of the nonsomatostatin fragments of aPSS-I suggests that prohormone processing at the secondary sites identified in this study occurs at a low rate relative to release of SS-14 from aPSS-I.

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