We have characterized two stable transformed mouse cell lines (CG1 and CTG1) that express either the normal vesicular stomatitis virus glycoprotein (G) or a truncated form of the G protein (TG) that lacks the COOH-terminal anchor sequences and is secreted from the cells. These cell lines were obtained using a hybrid vector consisting of the transforming DNA fragment of bovine papilloma virus linked to a segment of the SV40 expression vector pSV2 containing cloned cDNA encoding either the normal or truncated form of the vesicular stomatitis virus G protein. Using indirect immunofluorescence we have found that greater than 95% of the cells in each line express the G protein(s), although the level of expression within the population is variable. The normal G protein expressed in these cells obtains its complex oligosaccharides in less than 30 min and is transported to the cell surface. In contrast, the TG protein obtains its complex oligosaccharides with a half-time of about 2.5 h. Immunofluorescence data show an apparent concentration of the TG protein in the rough endoplasmic reticulum. These data together suggest that transfer of this anchorless protein from the rough endoplasmic reticulum to the Golgi apparatus is the rate-limiting step in its secretion. We observed, in addition to normal G protein, two smaller G-related proteins produced in the CG1 cell line. We suggest that these proteins could result from aberrant splicing from sites within the G mRNA sequence to the downstream acceptor in the pSV2 vector.

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