An inhibitory effect of several zinc chelators on endosome fusion reconstituted in an in vitro system has been recently reported (A. Aballay et al., 1995, Biochem. J. 312, 919-923). The factor that requires zinc for its activity is still unknown. Since the regulatory domain of protein kinase C (PKC) contains cysteine-rich motifs which coordinate zinc, we suspected that PKC or a PKC-like protein might be that factor. To test this hypothesis, we studied the effect of calphostin C, a specific inhibitor of PKC that interacts with the cysteine-rich motif, and PMA (phorbol 12-myristate 13- acetate), an activator of several PKC isoforms that bind to the same region, on endosome fusion. Calphostin C inhibited endosome fusion in a zinc- regulated manner, whereas PMA enhanced endosome fusion. Moreover, fusion was strongly stimulated when both PMA and zinc were added together to zinc- depleted fusion reactions. Inhibitors of the catalytic domain of PKC had no effect on the assay suggesting that the kinase activity is not required. In contrast, a glutathione S-transferase fusion protein containing a cysteine- rich region of the regulatory domain of PKCγ inhibited endosome fusion in a PMA-dependent manner. Western blot analysis demonstrated the presence of proteins containing PKC-like cysteine-rich regions that are released from endosomal fractions by zinc chelators. These results indicate that the previously proposed zinc-dependent factor required for endosome fusion could be either a PKC isoform or a protein containing the phorbol ester-binding domain of PKC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology