Carboxypeptidase D (CPD) is a recently discovered membrane-bound metallocarboxypeptidase that has been proposed to be involved in the post-translational processing of peptides and proteins that transit the secretory pathway. In the present study, the intracellular distribution of CPD was examined in AtT-20 cells, a mouse anterior pituitary-derived corticotroph. Antisera to CPD stain the same intracellular structures as those labeled with furin and wheat germ agglutinin. This distribution is distinct from carboxypeptidase E, which is localized to the secretory vesicles in the cell processes. The perinuclear distribution of CPD is detected even when the AtT-20 cells are treated with brefeldin A for 1–30 minutes, suggesting that CPD is present in the trans-Golgi network (TGN). Although CPD is predominantly found in the TGN, an antiserum to the full length protein is internalized within 15–30 minutes of incubation at 37 degrees C. In contrast, an antiserum raised against the C-terminal region of CPD does not become internalized, suggesting that this domain is cytosolic. The antiserum to the full length CPD is internalized to a structure that co-stains with furin and wheat germ agglutinin, but is distinct from transferrin recycling endosomes. The internalization of CPD is not substantially affected by treatment of the AtT-20 cells with brefeldin A. These data are consistent with the cycling of CPD to the cell surface and back to the TGN. The TGN localization of CPD raises the possibility of a role for this enzyme in the processing of proteins that transit the secretory pathway.

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