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Gastroenterology. 1991 Dec;101(6):1477-87.

The minor components of the rat asialoglycoprotein receptor are apically located in neonatal enterocytes.

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Department of Medicine, Washington University Medical School, St. Louis, Missouri.


Because specific uptake of the asialoglycoprotein haptocorrin has been reported in suckling distal intestine, evidence of the asialoglycoprotein receptor in rat ileum was sought. On Western blot, two different polyclonal antisera against purified rat holoreceptor recognized only proteins of the size of the minor receptor components (51 and 55 kilodaltons) in both suckling and adult rat intestine. Messenger RNA encoding the minor component (RHL-2/3) was detected in total RNA extracted from rat ileum. Calcium-specific binding of porcine or rat haptocorrin-[57Co]cobalamin complexes was detected in the brush border membranes of distal suckling rat and porcine small intestine. This binding was almost completely blocked by another asialoglycoprotein, asialofetuin. The pH optimum for binding was 6-9, with a Ka of 0.25 nmol/L and a capacity of 4.6 fmol/mg protein. These properties, with the exception of the low capacity, are all consistent with those of the intact receptor on hepatocytes. The intestinal receptor was localized not to the basolateral membrane, as in the liver, but to the apical brush border, as suggested by the binding data. Furthermore, immunoperoxidase stains of paraffin-embedded tissue detected strong binding to the brush border and apical phagolysosome of mid and distal suckling rat intestine. These data show that, contrary to expectations, the minor components of the asialoglycoprotein receptor are functional and expressed in the apical membrane of the suckling intestine. The abundance of the protein by Western blot suggests possible roles for it in the neonatal gut other than haptocorrin binding.

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