Novel Endogenous Protein Kinase C Substrate Proteins, Neutrinins, in Brain Synaptic Membranes of Maturing Rat


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Y. Du at Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 320 Yue-yang road, Shanghai 200031, China.


Abstract: A new family of membrane phosphoproteins designated as P9, P12, P15, P16, and P20 with corresponding apparent molecular weights of 9K, 12K, 15K, 16K, and 20K was characterized from rat brain by using in vitro exogenous or endogenous phosphorylation and autoradiography. As the phosphorylation was selectively inhibited by the protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitor PKC19–31 or Ca2+-chelating reagents and again stimulated by the PKC activator phorbol 12,13-dibutyrate, these proteins are thought to be the natural PKC substrates. Because P12, P15, P16, and P20 were neutral proteins (pl 7.0) and specifically distributed in neuronal membranes, the new family of membrane-associated PKC substrate proteins was referred to as neutrinins. Neutrinins were widely distributed in rat brain, being especially plentiful in the spinal cord, medulla oblongata, cerebellum, and midbrain, relatively scanty in the cerebral cortex, but lacking in cytosol of brain areas and cell membrane preparations of peripheral tissues. The expression of the developmental changes of neutrinins has been monitored by the in vitro exogenous phosphorylation approach, i.e., adding purified PKC to a deactivated synaptosomal plasma membrane system. Levels of all the neutrinin proteins in rat cerebral cortex, as represented by P12, P15, and P16, showed an ontogenetic increase from the early postnatal days to the adult. This appears to be correlated with the commencement of synaptogenesis.