Neurocalcin (molecular weight 23 000 and 24 000) is a Ca2+-binding protein with three putative Ca2+-binding domains and is present in large amounts in nervous tissues. Neurocalcin isoproteins separated by C18 reverse-phase column chromatography are insoluble in buffer solution and it is impossible to determine the dissociation constant of neurocalcin with Ca2+. To overcome this difficulty, recombinant neurocalcin was synthesized, based on one of the cDNAs of the neurocalcin isoproteins. Stoichiometric titration experiments, using recombinant neurocalcin, indicated that this protein bound 2 mol Ca2+/mol protein and that the apparent dissociation constant for Ca2+ was 2·2 μmol/l, suggesting that neurocalcin plays a physiological role in cellular function. Immunoblotting showed that neurocalcin is present in the bovine adrenal gland in addition to the nervous tissues. Neurocalcin, identified by immunoblotting, was purified from the bovine adrenal gland. Sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) of neurocalcin from the bovine brain showed 23 kDa and 24 kDa double bands, while SDS-PAGE of neurocalcin from the adrenal gland showed a single band of apparently 24 kDa, suggesting that the expression of neurocalcin isoproteins differs from tissue to tissue. The content of neurocalcin in the adrenal gland was 10 μg protein/100 g wet tissue. Immunohistochemical analysis showed the occurrence of neurocalcin in zona glomerulosa and adrenal medulla but not in zona fasciculata or zona reticularis. The restricted localization of neurocalcin in the adrenal gland suggests that a similar Ca2+ signal pathway may be present in zona glomerulosa and the adrenal medulla.
Journal of Endocrinology (1993) 138, 283–290