The Journal of biological chemistry

Cleavage of parathyroid hormone in macrophage endosomes illustrates a novel pathway for intracellular processing of proteins.

PMID 2760027


Most ligands which are taken up by macrophages are transported to lysosomes where they are degraded to their constituents by a concert of acid hydrolases. This process requires a number of intracellular events which result in the transport of ligands from light density endosomes to the more dense lysosomes. In contrast, our studies have shown that macrophages may process some incoming ligands in endosomes (Diment, S., and Stahl, P. D. (1985) J. Biol. Chem. 260, 15311-15317) and that cathepsin D, an aspartyl protease, is localized in these organelles (Diment, S., Leech, M. S., and Stahl, P. D. (1988) J. Biol. Chem. 263, 6901-6907). Using rabbit alveolar macrophages, which can be subjected to subcellular fractionation, we have traced the intracellular transport and processing of bovine parathyroid hormone (PTH-(1-84]. We present evidence that macrophages internalize PTH-(1-84). Once in endosomes the hormone is cleaved to fragments which include a bioactive peptide, PTH-(1-34), and then the fragments are returned to the extracellular medium, without delivery to lysosomes. The entire cycle from initial binding to release of PTH-(1-34) is achieved within 10-15 min, a time period consistent with findings in vivo. Our data provide evidence for a novel route for processing of an endocytosed ligand.