July 1986
Volume 27, Issue 7
Articles  |   July 1986
Membrane receptors for retinol-binding protein in cultured human retinal pigment epithelium.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science July 1986, Vol.27, 1031-1040. doi:
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      B A Pfeffer, V M Clark, J G Flannery, D Bok; Membrane receptors for retinol-binding protein in cultured human retinal pigment epithelium.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1986;27(7):1031-1040.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is responsible for transport of retinol from the choroidal circulation to the photoreceptors. In the intact eye, this process is mediated by membrane receptors for plasma retinol binding protein (RBP) distributed basolaterally on the RPE cells. We have shown that cultured human RPE expresses this receptor. A binding curve exhibiting saturation was generated by incubating enzymatically detached epithelial sheets with increasing concentrations of 125I-labelled RBP. 125I-RBP binding experiments also show that the receptor is expressed at a high level in first passage subcultures, suggesting de novo synthesis, and that basally oriented receptors predominate over those associated with the apical surface, reflecting the polarization characteristic of RPE in vivo. Cultured RPE can internalize 3H-retinol carried by RBP, resulting in synthesis of labelled retinyl palmitate. Production of labelled retinyl ester is competitively inhibited when incubations include an excess of holo-RBP containing non-radioactive retinol. These results indicate that RBP not only binds to the receptor specifically, but also that this interaction is functional, effecting uptake of retinol by the RPE cells. The expression of this property of differentiated RPE favors the use of cultured RPE as a model system for studying vitamin A transport and metabolism.


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