Regional and subcellular distribution of the receptor-targeting protein PIST in the rat central nervous system

J Comp Neurol. 2012 Apr 1;520(5):889-913. doi: 10.1002/cne.22774.


Protein interacting specifically with Tc10, PIST, is a Golgi-associated sorting protein involved in regulating cell-surface targeting of plasma membrane receptors. The present study provides the first comprehensive description of PIST distribution in the mammalian central nervous system and of its subcellular localization by immunocytochemistry. PIST is distributed widely throughout the neuraxis, predominantly associated with neuronal cell bodies and dendrites. In hippocampal neurons, in vitro and in situ, PIST displayed a patchy subcellular distribution in an area surrounding the nucleus and extending into one of the major dendrites. By colocalization with the trans-Golgi marker TGN38, we were able to show that PIST is associated largely but not exclusively with the trans-Golgi network in central neurons. High or moderate to high levels of PIST-like immunoreactivity were found in cortical areas, in particular in layer V of the neocortex. The motor cortex was most strongly labeled. Also, the piriform and insular cortices displayed strong PIST labeling. In the hippocampus, CA2 but not CA1 or CA3 pyramidal cells displayed strong PIST-labeling, extending into their apical dendrites. In the thalamus, ventrolateral and laterodorsal nuclei were most strongly stained, whereas in the hypothalamus the supraoptic nucleus stood out with strong immunoreactivity. Strikingly, in the brainstem all cranial nerve motor nuclei were PIST-positive at varying levels, which is in keeping with the prominent expression of PIST in forebrain motor areas. This selective distribution of PIST suggests that the protein serves distinctive roles in specific neuronal populations, establishing functionally distinct zones, for instance, in the hippocampus.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / chemistry
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Central Nervous System / chemistry
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism*
  • Guinea Pigs
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Hippocampus / chemistry
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / chemistry
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism*
  • Subcellular Fractions / chemistry
  • Subcellular Fractions / metabolism*
  • trans-Golgi Network / chemistry
  • trans-Golgi Network / metabolism


  • Carrier Proteins
  • GOPC protein, rat
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Tgoln2 protein, rat