Secretory granule biogenesis in sympathoadrenal cells: identification of a granulogenic determinant in the secretory prohormone chromogranin A

Maïté Courel, Carrie Rodemer, Susan T Nguyen, Alena Pance, Antony P Jackson, Daniel T O'connor, Laurent Taupenot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chromogranin A (CgA) may be critical for secretory granule biogenesis in sympathoadrenal cells. We found that silencing the expression of CgA reduced the number of secretory granules in normal sympathoadrenal cells (PC12), and we therefore questioned whether a discrete domain of CgA might promote the formation of a regulated secretory pathway in variant sympathoadrenal cells (A35C) devoid of such a phenotype. The secretory granule-forming activity of a series of human CgA domains labeled with a hemagglutinin epitope, green fluorescent protein, or embryonic alkaline phosphatase was assessed in A35C cells by deconvolution and electron microscopy and by secretagogue-stimulated release assays. Expression of CgA in A35C cells induced the formation of vesicular organelles throughout the cytoplasm, whereas two constitutive secretory pathway markers accumulated in the Golgi complex. The lysosome-associated membrane protein LGP110 did not co-localize with CgA, consistent with non-lysosomal targeting of the granin in A35C cells. Thus, CgA-expressing A35C cells showed electron-dense granules approximately 180-220 nm in diameter, and secretagogue-stimulated exocytosis of CgA from A35C cells suggested that expression of the granin may be sufficient to restore a regulated secretory pathway and thereby rescue the sorting of other secretory proteins. We show that the formation of vesicular structures destined for regulated exocytosis may be mediated by a determinant located within the CgA N-terminal region (CgA-(1-115), with a necessary contribution of CgA-(40-115)), but not the C-terminal region (CgA-(233-439)) of the protein. We propose that CgA promotes the biogenesis of secretory granules by a mechanism involving a granulogenic determinant located within CgA-(40-115) of the mature protein.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38038-51
Number of pages14
JournalThe Journal of biological chemistry
Issue number49
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2006


  • Adrenal Glands/physiology
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line
  • Chromogranin A/antagonists & inhibitors
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • PC12 Cells
  • RNA, Small Interfering/genetics
  • Rats
  • Recombinant Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors
  • Secretory Vesicles/metabolism


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