The neuroendocrine polypeptide 7B2 is a precursor protein.
The neuroendocrine protein 7B2 is highly conserved and widely present in neurons and endocrine cells. It is coexpressed with the prohormone proopiomelanocortin (POMC) in the intermediate lobe of the pituitary gland of Xenopus laevis. To study the biosynthesis of 7B2 in this amphibian, an anti-7B2 monoclonal antibody was used in immunoprecipitation analysis of newly synthesized radiolabeled proteins, produced by pulse and pulse-chase-incubated neurointermediate lobes. Following a 15-min pulse incubation, a single immunoprecipitable protein of 25 kDa was synthesized. During subsequent chase incubation, this newly synthesized 7B2 protein was processed to an 18-kDa immunoprecipitable form. Analysis of the chase incubation medium revealed that only the 18-kDa processed product of 7B2, and not 7B2 itself, had been secreted. This secretion is a regulated process because it was blocked completely by the dopamine receptor agonist apomorphine. A study of protein biosynthesis in lobes treated with tunicamycin to prevent N-linked glycosylation showed that in contrast to POMC and an 18-kDa derivative of POMC, neither 7B2 nor its 18-kDa derivative was glycosylated. Chemical and enzymatic peptide mapping showed that processing of 7B2 occurs in the carboxyl-terminal region. The function of the 7B2 protein is unknown; the present results show that 7B2 itself is a precursor molecule and can only have an intracellular function whereas an extracellular function can only be attributed to 7B2-derived peptides.