We have investigated the sorting and packaging of secretory proteins into secretory granules by an immunological approach. An mAb against secretogranin I (chromogranin B), a secretory protein costored with various peptide hormones and neuropeptides in secretory granules of many endocrine cells and neurons, was expressed by microinjection of its mRNA into the secretogranin I-producing cell line PC12. An mAb against the G protein of vesicular stomatitis virus--i.e., against an antigen not present in PC12 cells--was expressed as a control. The intracellular localization and the secretion of the antibodies was studied by double-labeling immunofluorescence using the conventional and the confocal microscope, as well as by pulse-chase experiments. The secretogranin I antibody, like the control antibody, was transported along the secretory pathway to the Golgi complex. However, in contrast to the control antibody, which was secreted via the constitutive pathway, the secretogranin I antibody formed an immunocomplex with secretogranin I, was packaged into secretory granules, and was released by regulated exocytosis. Our results show that a constitutive secretory protein, unaltered by genetic engineering, can be diverted to the regulated pathway of secretion by its protein-protein interaction with a regulated secretory protein. The data also provide the basis for immunologically studying the role of luminally exposed protein domains in the biogenesis and function of regulated secretory vesicles.

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