The extremely conserved C-terminal region of Reelin is not necessary for secretion but is required for efficient activation of downstream signaling

Yoshimi Nakano, Takao Kohno, Terumasa Hibi, Shiori Kohno, Atsushi Baba, Katsuhiko Mikoshiba, Kazunori Nakajima, Mitsuharu Hattori

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Reelin is a very large secreted glycoprotein essential for correct development of the mammalian brain. It is also implicated in higher functions and diseases of human brain. However, whether or not secretion of Reelin is regulated and how Reelin transmits signals remain largely unknown. Reelin protein is composed of an N-terminal F-spondin-like domain, Reelin repeats, and a short and highly basic C-terminal region (CTR). The primary sequence of CTR is almost completely conserved among vertebrates except fishes, indicating its importance. A prevailing idea regarding the function of CTR is that it is required for the secretion of Reelin, although this remains unproven. Here we aimed to clarify the function of Reelin CTR. Neither deleting most of CTR nor replacing CTR with unrelated amino acids affected secretion efficiency, indicating that CTR is not absolutely required for the secretion of Reelin. We also found that Reelin mutants without CTR were less potent in activating the downstream signaling in cortical neurons. Although these mutants were able to bind to the Reelin receptor ectodomain as efficiently as wild-type Reelin, quite interestingly, their ability to bind to the isolated cell membrane bearing Reelin receptors or receptor-expressing cells (including cortical neurons) was much weaker than that of wild-type Reelin. Therefore, it is concluded that the CTR of Reelin is not essential for its secretion but is required for efficient activation of downstream signaling events, presumably via binding to an unidentified "coreceptor" molecule(s) on the cell membrane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20544-20552
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number28
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Jul 13


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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