BAP31 is a transmembrane protein that associates with nascent membrane proteins in transit between endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and cis-Golgi. Its C-terminal dilysine (KKEE) motif, mediating return to the ER, is consistent with a role in early sorting of membrane proteins. An initiator caspase-binding site in the C-terminal domain of BAP31 is implicated in cytoplasmic membrane fragmentation events of apoptosis. Although BAP31 RNA is ubiquitous, the protein's anatomic localization has not been determined. To gain further insight into its possible functions, we localized BAP31 in primate tissues using monoclonal antibodies. Immunoreactivity was prominent in T- and B-lymphocytes in blood and in thymus, in cerebellar Purkinje neuron bodies and dendrites, in gonadotrophs of the anterior pituitary, ovarian thecal and follicular cells, active but not quiescent thyroid epithelium, adrenal cortex more than medulla, and proximal more than distal renal tubules. Blood vessels and skeletal muscle were nonreactive. The anatomic distribution of BAP31 and the nature of proteins identified thus far as its cargo exiting the ER, suggest an interaction with proteins assembling in macromolecular complexes en route to selected sites of exocytotic and signaling activities. Apoptotic associations in mature tissues could be physiological (lymphocytes, endocrine cells) or pathological (Purkinje neurons, renal tubules).
- Endoplasmic reticulum
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