We have identified a novel guanylyl cyclase, named MsGC-I, that is expressed in the nervous system of Manduca sexta. MsGC-I shows highest sequence identity with receptor guanylyl cyclases throughout its catalytic and dimerization domains but does not contain the ligand-binding, transmembrane, or kinase-like domains characteristic of receptor guanylyl cyclases. In addition, MsGC-I contains a C-terminal extension of 149 amino acids that is not present in other receptor guanylyl cyclases. The sequence of MsGC-I contains no regions that show similarity to the regulatory domain of soluble guanylyl cyclases. Thus, MsGC-I appears to represent a member of a new class of guanylyl cyclases. We show that both a transcript and a protein of the sizes predicted from the MsGC-I cDNA are present in the nervous system of Manduca and that MsGC-I is expressed in a small population of neurons within the abdominal ganglia. When expressed in COS-7 cells, MsGC-I appears to exist as a soluble homodimer with high levels of basal guanylyl cyclase activity that is insensitive to stimulation by nitric oxide. Western blot analysis, however, shows that MsGC-I is localized to the particulate fraction of nervous system homogenates, suggesting that it may be membrane-associated in vivo.
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