Nowa, a novel protein with minicollagen Cys-rich domains, is involved in nematocyst formation in Hydra
Authors: Engel U, Ozbek S, Streitwolf-Engel R, Petri B, Lottspeich F, Holstein TW
CellNetworks People: Engel Ulrike, Holstein Thomas
Journal: J Cell Sci. 2002 Oct 15;115(Pt 20):3923-34. doi: 10.1242/jcs.00084

The novel protein Nowa was identified in nematocysts, explosive organelles of Hydra, jellyfish, corals and other CNIDARIA: Biogenesis of these organelles is complex and involves assembly of proteins inside a post-Golgi vesicle to form a double-layered capsule with a long tubule. Nowa is the major component of the outer wall, which is formed very early in morphogenesis. The high molecular weight glycoprotein has a modular structure with an N-terminal sperm coating glycoprotein domain, a central C-type lectin-like domain, and an eightfold repeated cysteine-rich domain at the C-terminus. Interestingly, the cysteine-rich domains are homologous to the cysteine-rich domains of minicollagens. We have previously shown that the cysteines of these minicollagen cysteine-rich domains undergo an isomerization process from intra- to intermolecular disulfide bonds, which mediates the crosslinking of minicollagens to networks in the inner wall of the capsule. The minicollagen cysteine-rich domains present in both proteins provide a potential link between Nowa in the outer wall and minicollagens in the inner wall. We propose a model for nematocyst formation that integrates cytoskeleton rearrangements around the post-Golgi vesicle and protein assembly inside the vesicle to generate a complex structure that is stabilized by intermolecular disulfide bonds.