Amino acid sequence of the NH2-terminal extra piece segments of the precursors of mouse immunoglobulin lambda1-type and kappa-type light chains.
The mRNA molecules coding for mouse immunoglobulin light (L) chains direct the cell-free synthesis of precursors in which extra peptide segments precede the amino termini of the mature proteins. The results of amino acid sequence analyses of two precursors labeled with 20 radioactive amino acids enabled unambiguous determination of the complete primary structure of the extra piece segments. The complete sequences (and sizes) of the NH2-terminal extra pieces are: in MOPC-104E lambda1 L-chain precursor, Met-Ala-Trp-Ile-Ser-Leu-Ile-Leu-Ser-Leu-Leu-Ala-Leu-Ser-Ser-Gly-Ala-Ile-Ser (19 residues); in MOPC-41 kappa L-chain precursor, Met-Asp-Met-Arg-Ala-Pro-Ala-Gln-Ile-Phe-Gly-Phe-Leu-Leu-Leu-Leu-Phe-Pro-Gly-Thr-Arg-Cys (22 residues). The extra pieces in the precursors of MOPC-104E (lambda1), MOPC-41 (kappa), and MOPC-321 (kappa) L-chains differ extensively from each other in their amino acid sequence (65-73%). In addition to this sequence heterogeneity, the extra pieces are characterized by a high percentage of hydrophobic residues: 69% in the MOPC-104E lambda1 L-chain precursor (this report), 73-75% in the kappa L-chain precursors [Schechter, I. & Burstein, Y. (1976) Proc, Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 73, 3273-3277]. The marked hydrophobicity of the extra piece suggests that it may favor interaction of the precursor with cell membranes, in a manner similar to the function of the "hydrophobic domain" of membrane-bound proteins. We propose two possible targets for interaction: (i) the endoplasmic membranes, where the NH2-terminal extra piece is cleaved from the precursor to yield mature protein destined for secretion; (ii) the cell surface membrane, where the intact precursor is anchored by virtue of the hydrophobic extra piece to serve as the antigen-recognizing receptor.