We have investigated the trafficking of the membrane-anchored form of human ADAM 12 (ADAM 12-L) fused to a green fluorescence protein tag. Subcellular localization of the protein in transiently transfected cells was determined by fluorescence microscopy and trypsin sensitivity. Full-length ADAM 12-L was retained in a perinuclear compartment, which was shown to be the trans-Golgi network. In contrast, ADAM 12-L lacking the cytoplasmic domain reached the cell surface. Based on analysis of deletions and mutations of the cytoplasmic tail of ADAM 12-L, the retention signal is comprised of both the cytoplasmic and transmembrane domains, but not the Src homology 3 domain (SH3) binding sites. These results raise the possibility that a trafficking checkpoint in the trans-Golgi network is one of the cellular mechanisms for regulation of ADAM 12-L function, by allowing a rapid release of ADAM 12-L to the cell surface under specific stimuli.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.