Proteolytic Cleavage of the Ectodomain of the L1 CAM Family Member Tractin
Tractin is a member of the L1 family of cell adhesion molecules in leech. Immunoblot analysis suggests that Tractin is constitutively cleaved in vivo at a proteolytic site with the sequence RKRRSR. This sequence conforms to the consensus sequence for cleavage by members of the furin family of convertases, and this proteolytic site is shared by a majority of other L1 family members. We provide evidence with furin-specific inhibitor experiments, by site-specific mutagenesis of Tractin constructs expressed in S2 cells, as well as by Tractin expression in furin-deficient LoVo cells that a furin convertase is the likely protease mediating this processing. Cross-immunoprecipitations with Tractin domain-specific antibodies suggest that the resulting NH2- and COOH-terminal cleavage fragments interact with each other and that this interaction provides a means for the NH2-terminal fragment to be tethered to the membrane. Furthermore, in S2 cell aggregation assays we show that the NH2-terminal fragment is necessary for homophilic adhesion and that cells expressing only the transmembrane COOH-terminal fragment are non-adhesive. However, tethering of exogeneously provided Tractin NH2-terminal fragment to S2 cells expressing only the COOH-terminal fragment can functionally restore the adhesive properties of Tractin.
This article is published as Xu, Ying-Zhi, Yun Ji, Birgit Zipser, John Jellies, Kristen M. Johansen, and Jørgen Johansen. "Proteolytic cleavage of the ectodomain of the L1 CAM family member Tractin." Journal of Biological Chemistry 278, no. 6 (2003): 4322-4330. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M210775200. Posted with permission.