R2D5 is a mouse monoclonal antibody that labels rabbit olfactory receptor neurons. Immunoblot analysis showed that mAb R2D5 recognizes a 22-kD protein with apparent pI of 4.8, which is abundantly contained in the olfactory epithelium and the olfactory bulb. We isolated cDNA for R2D5 antigen and confirmed by Northern analysis and neuronal depletion technique that R2D5 antigen is expressed predominantly, but not exclusively, in olfactory receptor neurons. Analysis of the deduced primary structure revealed that R2D5 antigen consists of 189 amino acids with calculated M(r) of 20,864 and pI of 4.74, has three calcium-binding EF hands, and has possible phosphorylation sites for Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaM kinase II) and cAMP-dependent protein kinase (A kinase). Using the bacterially expressed protein, we directly examined the biochemical properties of R2D5 antigen. R2D5 antigen binds Ca2+ and undergoes a conformational change in a manner similar to calmodulin. R2D5 antigen is phosphorylated in vitro by CaM kinase II and A kinase at different sites, and 1.81 and 0.80 mol of Pi were maximally incorporated per mol of R2D5 antigen by CaM kinase II and A kinase, respectively. Detailed immunohistochemical study showed that R2D5 antigen is also expressed in a variety of ependymal cells in the rabbit central nervous system. Aside from ubiquitous calmodulin, R2D5 antigen is the first identified calcium-binding protein in olfactory receptor neurons that may modulate olfactory signal transduction. Furthermore our results indicate that olfactory receptor neurons and ependymal cells have certain signal transduction components in common, suggesting a novel physiological process in ependymal cells.

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