The pro domain of pre-pro-transforming growth factor beta 1 when independently expressed is a functional binding protein for the mature growth factor

Biochemistry. 1990 Jul 24;29(29):6851-7. doi: 10.1021/bi00481a014.


Transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-beta 1) is proteolytically derived from the carboxyl terminus of a 390 amino acid precursor molecule termed pre-pro-TGF-beta 1. Previous studies have suggested that the pro piece of pre-pro-TGF-beta 1 may play an important role in the formation of an inactive, latent complex. These latent forms are thought to be important in the regulation of TGF-beta 1 activity. To understand this latent complex in more detail, we have expressed the pro domain of pre-pro-TGF-beta 1 in tissue culture cells independent of the mature growth factor. A stop codon was genetically engineered into the cDNA of pre-pro-TGF-beta 1 by changing the Arg-278 codon from CGA to the STOP codon TGA. The resulting protein is truncated just prior to the amino-terminal Ala residue of the mature growth factor. Transient expression studies and immunoblotting indicate that this pro piece is readily made and secreted by the COS-1 cells; the major form of the expressed pro piece, when analyzed by SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, behaves as a disulfide-linked dimer (Mr 80,000). Bioassays, using mink lung indicator cells, reveal that the pro domain forms an inactive complex with exogenously added mature TGF-beta 1. Treatment of this complex with heat or acid results in the release of active TGF-beta 1, indicating an in vitro structure similar to natural, latent TGF-beta 1 complexes. The pro piece from TGF-beta 1 was also found to form latent structures with two closely related family members, TGF-beta 1.2 and TGF-beta 2.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • DNA / genetics
  • Gene Expression
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Precursors* / genetics
  • Proteins* / genetics
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta*
  • Transforming Growth Factors* / genetics


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Protein Precursors
  • Proteins
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Transforming Growth Factors
  • DNA