The ordered secretion of bioactive peptides: oldest or newest first?

Mol Endocrinol. 1991 Jun;5(6):787-94. doi: 10.1210/mend-5-6-787.


The order of secretion of newly synthesized and older bioactive peptides was investigated using primary rat intermediate pituitary melanotropes, which synthesize, store, and secrete peptides derived from pro-ACTH/endorphin (PAE; also POMC). PAE-derived peptides produced by the cells were biosynthetically labeled by incubating the cells with radioactive amino acids at various times preceding the period during which secretion was examined; secreted and cellular peptides were characterized and quantitated by immunoprecipitation, using affinity-purified antibodies to selected regions of PAE, followed by polyacrylamide gel electrophoretic analysis. Release in the absence of secretagogues (basal or constitutive release) was compared to release in the presence of maximally effective levels of 8-bromo-cAMP and BaCl2 (stimulated or regulated release). Both cell types showed short-lived preferential basal release of newly synthesized and not fully mature peptides (less than 2-3 h old). Conversely, the cells showed preferential stimulated secretion of older peptides. A process of maturation occurred, taking 2-4 h, after which the secretion of newly synthesized and older peptides in response to secretagogues was nearly indistinguishable for the smallest product peptides. The data support a model of gradual processing of peptides from precursors into smaller products and maturation from molecules only available for basal release into peptides available for stimulated secretion as well as for basal release. Basal secretion was found to include mature peptides as well as intermediates and precursor molecules. The data do not support the existence of any preferential regulated secretion of newly synthesized peptides.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 8-Bromo Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate / pharmacology
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / biosynthesis
  • Animals
  • Barium / pharmacology
  • Barium Compounds*
  • Cell Line
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chlorides*
  • Male
  • Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormones / biosynthesis
  • Methionine / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Pituitary Gland / drug effects
  • Pituitary Gland / physiology*
  • Pituitary Hormones / biosynthesis*
  • Pituitary Neoplasms
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin / biosynthesis*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Sulfur Radioisotopes
  • Tritium


  • Barium Compounds
  • Chlorides
  • Pituitary Hormones
  • Sulfur Radioisotopes
  • barium chloride
  • Tritium
  • 8-Bromo Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate
  • Barium
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormones
  • Methionine