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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1992 Aug 12;1136(2):143-9.

Expression of haptoglobin receptors in human hepatoma cells.

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  • 1Department of Hygiene, Kansai Medical University, Osaka, Japan.


The uptake of radio-labeled hemoglobin-haptoglobin complex (Hb-Hp) by human hepatoma PLC/PRF/5 and HepG2 cells was investigated in an attempt to characterize the uptake process and intracellular transport. Human hepatoma cells took up Hb-Hp in a receptor-mediated manner. Scatchard analysis of binding revealed that PLC/PRF/5 and HepG2 cells exhibited about 21,000 and 63,000 haptoglobin receptors/cell, with a dissociation constant (Kd) of 8.0 and 17 nM, respectively. Human hepatocytes in primary culture also expressed about 84,000 receptors/cells, with a Kd of 7.4 nM. The hemoglobin-haptoglobin complex was internalized and subsequently the internalized Hb-Hp was slowly degraded in the cells. Preincubation of the cells with Hb-Hp resulted in a decrease in binding of the radioactive Hb-Hp to the cell surface, and was accompanied with an accumulation of intracellular receptors. The uptake of Hb-Hp by the cells was not inhibited by 100 microM chloroquine or by 10 mM methylamine, but was inhibited by 50 microM monodansylcadaverine. Hemoglobin-heme taken up by the cells induced microsomal heme oxygenase. Thus, human hepatoma PLC/PRF/5 and HepG2 cells can take up Hb-Hp by haptoglobin receptor-mediated endocytosis and Hb-Hp probably causes translocation of the haptoglobin receptors from the cell surface to the cell interior where they can be degraded. The internalized heme-moiety of hemoglobin can regulate the expression of heme oxygenase.

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