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J Biol Chem. 1981 May 25;256(10):4715-8.

Covalent binding of fatty acid to the transferrin receptor in cultured human cells.


The human transferrin receptor could be fluorographically detected after immunoprecipitation from a leukemic T-cell line labeled with [3H]palmitic acid. The label was found ony in association with the human transferrin receptor and not in association with two other major plasma membrane glycoproteins, demonstrating that the incorporation of radioactivity was not due to metabolism of the palmitate. Treatment of sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gels containing the [3H]palmitate-labeled transferrin receptor with hydroxylamine, prior to fluorography, resulted in release of a substantial fraction of the label from the molecule. In addition, at least part of the label released from immunoprecipitates of the transferrin receptor by treatment with hydroxylamine was identified as palmitohydroxamate, providing further evidence that the labeled fatty acid is covalently bound to the receptor. A proteolytic fragment (Mr = 70,000) derived from the portion of the transferrin receptor exposed on the cell surface can be obtained by trypsin digestion of intact or Nonidet P-40-solubilized cells. When cells were labeled with [3H]palmitic acid, none of the radioactivity could be detected in the tryptic fragment. Thus, the bound palmitate appears to be associated with the region of the molecule that is in close proximity to the plasma membrane.

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