Chromogranin A (CgA), a member of the granin family serves several important cell biological roles in (neuro)endocrine cells which are summarized in this review. CgA is a "prohormone" that is synthesized at the rough endoplasmic reticulum and transported into the cisternae of this organelle via its signal peptide. It is then trafficked to the Golgi complex and then to the trans-Golgi network (TGN) where CgA aggregates at low pH in the presence of calcium. The CgA aggregates provide the physical driving force to induce budding of the TGN membrane resulting in dense core granule (DCG) formation. Within the granule, a small amount of the CgA is processed to bioactive peptides, including a predicted C-terminal peptide, serpinin. Upon stimulation, DCGs undergo exocytosis and CgA and its derived peptides are released. Serpinin, acting extracellularly is able to signal the increase in transcription of a serine protease inhibitor, protease nexin-1 (PN-1) that protects DCG proteins against degradation in the Golgi complex, which then enhances DCG biogenesis to replenish those that were released. Thus CgA and its derived peptide, serpinin, plays a significant role in granule formation and regulation of granule biogenesis, respectively, in (neuro) endocrine cells.
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