The mechanism by which secretory proteins are segregated within the cisternal space of microsomal vesicles was studied using dog pancreas mRNA which directs the synthesis of 14 well-characterized nonglycosylated pancreatic exocrine proteins. In the absence of microsomal membranes, each of the proteins was synthesized as larger polypeptide chains (presecretory proteins). 1,000-2,000 daltons larger than their authentic counterparts as judged by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis in SDS. Conditions optimal for the study of reconstituted rough microsomes in the reticulocyte lysate system were examined in detail using mRNA and microsomal membranes isolated from dog pancreas. Functional reconstitution of rough microsomes was considerably more efficient in the presence of micrococcal nuclease- treated membranes than in the presence of EDTA-treated membranes. Analysis for segregation of nascent secretory proteins by microsomal vesicles, using post-translational incubation in the presence of trypsin and chymotrypsin, 50 μg/ml each, was shown to be inadequate, because of the disruption of vesicles by protease activity. Addition of 1-3 mM tetracaine or 1 mM dibucaine stabilized microsomal membranes incubated in the presence of trypsin and chymotrypsin at either 0 degrees or 22 degrees C. Each of the pancreatic presecretory proteins studied was correctly processed to authentic secretory proteins by nuclease-treated microsomal membranes, as judged by both one-dimensional and two-dimensional gel electophoresis. Post-translational addition of membranes did not result in either segregation or processing of nascent polypeptide chains. Post- translational proteolysis, carried out in the presence of 3 mM tetracaine, indicated that each of the 14 characterized dog pancreas secretory proteins was quantitatively segregated by nuclease-treated microsomal vesicles. Segregation of nascent secretory proteins was irreversible, since radioactive amylase, as well as the other labeled secretory proteins, remained quantitatively sequestered in microsomal vesicles during a 90-min incubation at 22 degrees C after the cessation of protein synthesis. Studies employing synchronized protein synthesis and delayed addition of membranes indicated that all pancreatic presecretory proteins contain amino terminal peptide extensions. These peptide extensions are shown to mediate the cotranslational binding of presecretory proteins to microsomal membranes and the transport of nascent secretory proteins to the vesicular space. The maximum chain lengths which, during synthesis, allow segregation of nascent polypeptide chains varied between 61 (pretrypsinogen 2 + 3) and 88 (preprocarboxypeptidase A1) amino acid residues among dog pancreas presecretory proteins. Reconstitution studies using homologous and heterologous mixtures of mRNA (dog, guinea pig, and rat pancreas; rat liver) and micrococcal nuclease-treated microsomal membranes (dog, guinea pig, and rat liver; dog pancreas), in the presence of placental ribonuclease inhibitor, suggest that the translocation mechanism described is common to the rough endoplasmic reticulum of all mammalian tissues.

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