Properties of the nicotinic acid adenine dinucleotide phosphate-binding protein in sea urchin eggs
Nicotinic acid adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NAADP) has recently emerged as a novel intracellular calcium mobilising messenger in a variety of cells. Whilst increasing evidence suggests that NAADP acts on a distinct binding protein, little is known regarding the biochemical properties of the putative NAADP "receptor". My thesis investigates properties of the NAADP-binding protein in sea urchin eggs. Firstly, I show that NAADP binding to its target protein is inhibited by altering the protein:lipid ratio of soluble sea urchin egg homogenates - an effect prevented and reversed specifically by addition of exogenous phospholipids. These data highlight the importance of the lipid environment in maintenance of NAADP binding to its target protein. In addition, I show that upon binding its ligand, the NAADP-binding protein undergoes an unusual stabilization process that is dependent upon the time the receptor is exposed to its ligand. This property endows the NAADP-binding protein with the extraordinary ability to detect the duration of its activation. Finally I describe the development of a highly sensitive radioreceptor assay (based upon the sea urchin egg NAADP-binding protein) that is capable of detecting low levels of NAADP from cellular extracts. I apply this technique to determine NAADP levels in a variety of extracts prepared from cells under resting and stimulated conditions.