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J Lipid Res. 1986 Feb;27(2):166-71.

Retinol-binding protein messenger RNA levels in the liver and in extrahepatic tissues of the rat.


A retinol-binding protein (RBP) cDNA clone was used to examine the effect of retinol status on the level of RBP mRNA in the liver, and to explore whether extrahepatic tissues contain RBP mRNA. In the first series of experiments, poly(A+) RNA was isolated from the livers of normal, retinol-depleted, and retinol-repleted rats and the levels of RBP mRNA in these samples were determined by both Northern blot and RNA Dot blot analyses. The levels of RBP mRNA in liver were similar in all three groups of rats. These findings confirm and extend previous studies which showed that retinol did not alter the in vivo rate of RBP synthesis or the translatable levels of RBP mRNA. In a second series of experiments, the RBP cDNA clone was used to survey poly (A+) RNA isolated from 12 different rat tissues for RBP mRNA by Northern blot analysis. We found that, along with the liver, many extrahepatic tissues contained RBP mRNA. Kidney contained RBP mRNA at a level of 5-10% of that of the liver, and the lungs, spleen, brain, stomach, heart, and skeletal muscle contained 1-3% of that of the liver. Translation of kidney poly (A+) RNA in rabbit reticulocyte lysates and immunoprecipitation of the translation products with anti-RBP antiserum resulted in a protein band of the same size as liver preRBP. These data suggest that RBP is synthesized in many extrahepatic tissues. It is possible that this extra-hepatically synthesized RBP may function in the recycling of retinol from these tissues back to the liver or to other target organs.

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