Mass spectrometric evidence that proteolytic processing of rainbow trout egg vitelline envelope proteins takes place on the egg

J Biol Chem. 2005 Nov 11;280(45):37585-98. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M506709200. Epub 2005 Sep 12.


The rainbow trout egg vitelline envelope (VE) is constructed of three proteins, called VEalpha,VEbeta, and VEgamma, that are synthesized and secreted by the liver and transported in the bloodstream to the ovary, the site of VE assembly around eggs. All three proteins possess an N-terminal signal peptide, a zona pellucida domain, a consensus furin-like cleavage site (CFLCS) close to the C terminus, and a short propeptide downstream of the CFLCS. Proteolytic processing at the CFLCS results in loss of the short C-terminal propeptide from precursor proteins and enables incorporation of mature proteins into the VE. Here mass spectrometry (matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight-mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry with a micromass-quadrupole TOF hybrid mass and a QSTAR Pulsar i mass spectrometer) was employed with VE proteins isolated from rainbow trout eggs in a peptidomics-based approach to determine the following: 1) the C-terminal amino acid of mature, proteolytically processed VE proteins; 2) the cellular site of proteolytic processing at the CFLCS of VE precursor proteins; and 3) the relationship between proteolytic processing and limited covalent cross-linking of VE proteins. Peptides derived from the C-terminal region were found for all three VE proteins isolated from eggs, indicating that processing at the CFLCS occurs after the arrival of VE precursor proteins at the egg. Consistent with this conclusion, peptides containing an intact CFLCS were also found for all three VE proteins isolated from eggs. Furthermore, peptides derived from the C-terminal propeptides of VE protein heterodimers VEalpha-VEgamma and VEbeta-VEgamma were found, suggesting that a small amount of VE protein can be covalently cross-linked on eggs prior to proteolytic processing at the CFLCS. Collectively, these results provide important evidence about the process of VE formation in rainbow trout and other non-cyprinoid fish and allow comparisons to be made with the process of zona pellucida formation in mammals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Egg Proteins / chemistry
  • Egg Proteins / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oncorhynchus mykiss*
  • Ovum / metabolism*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization
  • Vitelline Membrane / metabolism


  • Egg Proteins
  • vitelline membrane proteins