Renin is an aspartyl protease which is highly homologous to the lysosomal aspartyl protease cathepsin D. During its biosynthesis, cathepsin D acquires phosphomannosyl residues that enable it to bind to the mannose 6-phosphate (Man-6-P) receptor and to be targeted to lysosomes. The phosphorylation of lysosomal enzymes by UDP-GlcNAc:lysosomal enzyme N-acetylglucosaminylphosphotransferase (phosphotransferase) occurs by recognition of a protein domain that is thought to be present only on lysosomal enzymes. In order to determine whether renin, being structurally similar to cathepsin D, also acquires phosphomannosyl residues, human renin was expressed from cloned DNA in Xenopus oocytes and a mouse L cell line and its biosynthesis and posttranslational modifications were characterized. In Xenopus oocytes, the majority of the renin remained intracellular and underwent a proteolytic cleavage which removed the propiece. Most of the renin synthesized by oocytes was able to bind to a Man-6-P receptor affinity column (53%, 57%, and 90%, in different experiments), indicating the presence of phosphomannosyl residues. In the L cells, the majority of the renin was secreted but 5-6% of the renin molecules contained phosphomannosyl residues as demonstrated by binding of [35S]methionine-labeled renin to the Man-6-P receptor as well as direct analysis of [2-3H]mannose-labeled oligosaccharides. Although the level of renin phosphorylation differed greatly between the two cell types examined, these results demonstrate that renin is recognized by the phosphotransferase and suggest that renin contains at least part of the lysosomal protein recognition domain.
We have obtained expression of a cDNA clone for human cathepsin D in Xenopus laevis oocytes. Biosynthetic studies with [35S]methionine labeling demonstrated that most of the cathepsin D remained intracellular and underwent proteolytic cleavage, converting a precursor of Mr 47,000 D to a mature form of Mr 39,000 D with processing intermediates of Mr 43,000-41,000 D. greater than 90% of the cathepsin D synthesized by oocytes bound to a mannose 6-phosphate (Man-6-P) receptor affinity column, indicating the presence of phosphomannosyl residues. An analysis of [2-3H]mannose-labeled oligosaccharides directly demonstrated phosphomannosyl residues on cathepsin D. Sucrose-gradient fractionation, performed to define the membranous compartments that cathepsin D traversed during its biosynthesis, demonstrated that cathepsin D is targeted to a subpopulation of yolk platelets, the oocyte equivalent of a lysosome. Xenopus oocytes were able to endocytose lysosomal enzymes from the medium and this uptake was inhibited by Man-6-P, thus demonstrating the presence of Man-6-P receptors in these cells. Therefore, the entire Man-6-P dependent pathway for targeting of lysosomal enzymes is present in the oocytes. Xenopus oocytes should be a useful system for examining signals responsible for the specific targeting of lysosomal enzymes to lysosomes.