Biochemistry, Department of


Date of this Version

October 2006


Published in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1760 (2006) 1903–1913. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. Used by permission.


Cytochromes b561 (Cyts b561) are a family of intrinsic membrane proteins involved in ascorbate-mediated transmembrane electron transport. The chromaffin granule Cyt b561 (CGCytb) is believed to transport electrons donated by extravesicular ascorbate (ASC) across the membrane to intravesicular monodehydroascorbate (MDA) supporting catecholamine synthesis in neuroendocrine tissues. Another isoform, the duodenal Cyt b561 (Dcytb), was reported to have ferric reductase activity, possibly facilitating intestinal iron uptake. Herein, a new Cyt b561 homologue, LCytb (for lysosomal Cytb561) was found expressed in the late endosomal–lysosomal membrane. LCytb shared high sequence similarity with CGCytb (45% identity) and Dcytb (42% identity). Moreover, four heme-coordinating His residues, and putative ASC and MDA binding sites were highly conserved. Recombinant LCytb exhibited an ASC-reducible b-type Cyt absorbance spectrum with α-band maximum at 561 nm in the spectrum of the reduced protein. Northern blots and Western blots revealed that LCytb was predominantly expressed in lung, spleen, thymus, testis and placenta. In situ hybridization and immunofluorescence studies further demonstrated that the protein was expressed in the alveolar macrophages of the lung, in the white pulp of the spleen, widespread in the thymus, and in the Sertoli cells of the testis. Sequence analysis indicated the presence of a (DE)XXXL(LI)-type signal in the C-terminal of the protein, predicting a late endosomal–lysosomal subcellular localization. This localization was confirmed by double labeling experiments in RAW264.7 and 293 cells, stably transfected with LCytb.