Stress-inducible protein 1 is a cell surface ligand for cellular prion that triggers neuroprotection


  • S.M.Zanata, M.H.Lopes, A.F.Mercadante and G.N.M.Hajj contributed equally to this work


Prions are composed of an isoform of a normal sialoglycoprotein called PrPc, whose physiological role has been under investigation, with focus on the screening for ligands. Our group described a membrane 66 kDa PrPc-binding protein with the aid of antibodies against a peptide deduced by complementary hydropathy. Using these antibodies in western blots from two-dimensional protein gels followed by sequencing the specific spot, we have now identified the molecule as stress-inducible protein 1 (STI1). We show that this protein is also found at the cell membrane besides the cytoplasm. Both proteins interact in a specific and high affinity manner with a Kd of 10−7 M. The interaction sites were mapped to amino acids 113–128 from PrPc and 230–245 from STI1. Cell surface binding and pull-down experiments showed that recombinant PrPc binds to cellular STI1, and co-immunoprecipitation assays strongly suggest that both proteins are associated in vivo. Moreover, PrPc interaction with either STI1 or with the peptide we found that represents the binding domain in STI1 induce neuropro tective signals that rescue cells from apoptosis.