Corticotropin-releasing factor binding protein enters the regulated secretory pathway in neuroendocrine cells and cortical neurons.
Corticotropin releasing factor binding protein (CRF-BP) is a 37kDa glycoprotein that binds CRF with high affinity. CRF-BP controls CRF levels within plasma during human pregnancy. It has also been shown that CRF-BP is expressed in various brain nuclei. Main actions that have been proposed for brain CRF-BP are either decreasing available CRF or facilitating CRF ligand-induced activation of CRF-R2 receptors. For both actions, it is necessary the release of CRF-BP from CRF-BP expressing neurons. However, the secretion mode of CRF-BP is currently unknown. We used heterologous expression of CRF-BP-Flag in PC12 cells and in primary culture of rat cortical neurons to study CRF-BP secretion mode. We observed that CRF-BP-Flag immunoreactivity presents the typical cytoplasmatic punctuate pattern that has been described for neuropeptides and proteins that enter the regulated secretory pathway in PC12 cells. Quantitative analysis of double immunofluorescence confocal images showed that CRF-BP-Flag colocalizes with secretogranin II, marker of secretory granules, both in PC12 and in primary-cultured rat neurons. Furthermore, CRF-BP-Flag is released from PC12 cells upon high K(+)-depolarization. Thus, our results show that CRF-BP is efficiently sorted to the regulated secretory pathway in two cellular contexts, suggesting that the extracellular levels of CRF-BP in the central nervous system depends on neuronal activity.