Retinol-binding protein: the transport protein for vitamin A in human plasma

The Journal of Clinical Investigation
M KanaiD S Goodman


Vitamin A circulates in human plasma as retinol bound to a specific transport protein. This protein differs from the known low and high density plasma lipoproteins and has a hydrated density greater than 1.21. In order to study this protein, volunteers were injected intravenously with retinol-15-(14)C. Plasma was collected 1-3 days later, and the purification of retinol-binding protein (RBP) was monitored by assaying for (14)C and also by following the fluorescence of the protein-bound retinol. Purification of RBP was effected by the sequence: Cohn fractionation, chromatography on columns of Sephadex G-200 and diethylaminoethyl (DEAE)-Sephadex, preparative polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, and finally chromatography on Sephadex G-100. These procedures resulted in a preparation of RBP which was at least 98% pure and which had been purified more than 1500-fold. Purified RBP has alpha(1) mobility on electrophoresis and has a molecular weight of approximately 21,000-22,000. There appears to be one binding site for retinol per molecule of RBP. Solutions of RBP are fluorescent (characteristic of retinol) and have ultraviolet absorption spectra with peaks at 330 mmu (resulting from the bound retinol) and at 280 mmu. There are no fat...Continue Reading


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