• Myelin;
  • Myelin basic protein;
  • ADP-ribosylation;
  • Cholera toxin

Abstract: When isolated myelin membranes were ADP-ribosylated by [32P]NAD+ either in the absence of toxin (by the membrane ADP-ribosyltransferase) or in the presence of cholera toxin, the same proteins were ADP-ribosylated in both cases and myelin basic protein (MBP) was the major radioactive product. Therefore, cholera toxin was considered a good model for ADP-ribosylation of myelin proteins. Although purified human MBP migrates as a single band on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis with a molecular mass of 20 kDa, the microheterogeneity that is masked under these conditions can be clearly demonstrated on alkaline-urea gels at pH 10.6. At this pH, MBP is resolved into several components that differ one from the other by a single charge (charge isomers). These charge isomers can be resolved on CM52 columns at pH 10.6, and several can be ADP-ribosylated. Component 1 (C-1), the most cationic charge isomer, incorporated 1.79 mol of ADP-ribose/mol of protein. C-2 and C-3 (which differ from C-1 by the loss of one and two positive charges, respectively) incorporated slightly less at 1.67 and 1.63 mol of ADP-ribose/mol of protein, respectively, whereas C-8, the least cationic, incorporated less than 0.11 mol/mol of protein. In the presence of neutral hydroxylamine, the ADP-ribosyl bond was shown to have a half-life of about 80 min, suggesting an N-glycosidic linkage between ADP-ribose and an arginyl residue of the protein. As MBP contains several components that are ADP-ribosylated to different specific activities, the use of MBP, ADP-ribosylated in the natural membrane, to identify the sites involved would yield a mixture of peptides difficult to resolve. Therefore, to identify the sites ADP-ribosylated, an endoproteinase Lys-C digest of C-1 ADP-ribosylated by cholera toxin was prepared. Two radioactive peptides were isolated by reversed-phase HPLC. Amino acid and sequence analyses identified the radioactive peptides as residues 5–13 and 54–58 of the human sequence (sp. act., 0.89 and 0.62 nmol of ADP-ribose/nmol of peptide, respectively). The ADP-ribosylated residues were identified as Arg9 and Arg54 by automated and manual Edman sequencing. Taken together with our previous observation that MBP binds GTP at a single site, these data suggest that MBP functions as part of a signal transduction system in myelin.