Pro-hormone secretogranin II regulates dense core secretory granule biogenesis in catecholaminergic cells
Processes underlying the formation of dense core secretory granules (DCGs) of neuroendocrine cells are poorly understood. Here, we present evidence that DCG biogenesis is dependent on the secretory protein secretogranin (Sg) II, a member of the granin family of pro-hormone cargo of DCGs in neuroendocrine cells. Depletion of SgII expression in PC12 cells leads to a decrease in both the number and size of DCGs and impairs DCG trafficking of other regulated hormones. Expression of SgII fusion proteins in a secretory-deficient PC12 variant rescues a regulated secretory pathway. SgII-containing dense core vesicles share morphological and physical properties with bona fide DCGs, are competent for regulated exocytosis, and maintain an acidic luminal pH through the V-type H(+)-translocating ATPase. The granulogenic activity of SgII requires a pH gradient along this secretory pathway. We conclude that SgII is a critical factor for the regulation of DCG biogenesis in neuroendocrine cells, mediating the formation of functional DCGs via its pH-dependent aggregation at the trans-Golgi network.