Mutational studies were previously carried out at the omega site intact cells (Micanovic, R., L. Gerber, J. Berger, K. Kodukula, and S. Udenfriend. 1990. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 87:157-161; Micanovic R., K. Kodukula, L. Gerber, and S. Udenfriend. 1990. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA: 87:7939-7943) and at the omega + 1 and omega + 2 sites in a cell-free system (Gerber, L., K. Kodukula, and S. Udenfriend. 1992. J. Biol. Chem. 267:12168-12173) of nascent proteins destined to be processed to a glycosylphosphatidyl-inositol (GPI)-anchored form. We have now mutated the omega + 1 and omega + 2 sites in placental alkaline phosphatase (PLAP) cDNA and transfected the wild-type and mutant cDNAs into COS 7 cells. Only glycine at the omega + 2 site yielded enzymatically active GPI membrane-anchored PLAP in amounts comparable to the wild type (alanine). Serine was less active and threonine and valine yielded very low but significant activity. By contrast the omega + 1 site was promiscuous, with only proline being inactive. These and the previous studies indicate that the omega and omega + 2 sites of a nascent protein are key determinants for recognition by COOH-terminal signal transamidase. Comparisons have been made to specific requirements for substitution at the -1, -3 sites of amino terminal signal peptides for recognition by NH2-terminal signal peptidase and the mechanisms of NH2 and COOH-terminal signaling are compared.

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