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The transfer of retinol from serum retinol-binding protein to cellular retinol-binding protein is mediated by a membrane receptor.

Sundaram M., Sivaprasadarao A., DeSousa M.M., Findlay J.B.

The hypothesis that the cellular uptake of retinol involves the specific interaction of a plasma membrane receptor with serum retinol-binding protein (RBP) at the extracellular surface followed by ligand transfer to cytoplasmic cellular retinol-binding protein (CRBP) has been investigated. The experimental system consisted of the [3H]retinol-RBP complex, Escherichia coli-expressed recombinant apo-CRBP containing the 10 amino acid long streptavidin-binding peptide sequence at its C terminus (designated as CRBP-Strep) and permeabilized human placental membranes. [3H]Retinol transfer from RBP to CRBP-Strep was monitored by measuring the radioactivity associated with CRBP-Strep retained by an immobilized streptavidin resin. Using this assay system, we have demonstrated that optimal retinol uptake is achieved with holo-RBP, the membrane receptor and apo-CRBP. The effects are specific: other binding proteins, including beta-lactoglobulin and serum albumin, despite their ability to bind retinol, failed to substitute for either RBP or apo-CRBP. The process is facilitated by membranes containing the native receptor suggesting that this protein is an important component in the transfer mechanism. Taken together, the data suggest that the RBP receptor, through specific interactions with the binding proteins, participates (either directly or via associated proteins) in the mechanism which mediates the transfer of retinol from extracellular RBP to intracellular CRBP.

J. Biol. Chem. 273:3336-3342(1998) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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