The location of sarco/endoplasmic-reticulum calcium ATPase (SERCA) retention/retrieval motifs in the sequence of the SERCA1 has been investigated by examining the subcellular location in COS-7 cells of enhanced-green-fluorescent-protein-tagged calcium-pump chimaeras. These chimaeras have been constructed from the fast-twitch SERCA1 and the plasma-membrane calcium ATPase PMCA3. The N-terminal, central and C-terminal segments of these calcium pumps were exchanged between SERCA1 and PMCA3. The segments exchanged correspond to residues 1–211, 212–711 and 712–994 of SERCA1, and residues 1–264, 265–788 and 789–1159 of PMCA3 respectively. Only chimaeras containing the N-terminal segment of SERCA1 were located in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), whereas chimaeras containing the N-terminal segment from PMCA3 were able to escape from the ER and enter the endomembrane pathway en route for the plasma membrane. Co-localization of SERCA1 in COS-7 cells with the ER/Golgi-intermediate compartment marker ERGIC53 indicates that SERCA1 is maintained in the ER by a process of retrieval. These results indicate that the N-terminal region of SERCA1, containing transmembrane helices M1 and M2, contains an ER-retrieval signal
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