Binding affinities of CRBPI and CRBPII for 9-cis-retinoids

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2011 May;1810(5):514-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2011.02.009. Epub 2011 Mar 5.


Background: Cellular retinol binding-protein I (CRBPI) and cellular retinol binding-protein II (CRBPII) serve as intracellular retinoid chaperones that bind retinol and retinal with high affinity and facilitate substrate delivery to select enzymes that catalyze retinoic acid (RA) and retinyl ester biosynthesis. Recently, 9-cis-RA has been identified in vivo in the pancreas, where it contributes to regulating glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. In vitro, 9-cis-RA activates RXR (retinoid × receptors), which serve as therapeutic targets for treating cancer and metabolic diseases. Binding affinities and structure-function relationships have been well characterized for CRBPI and CRBPII with all-trans-retinoids, but not for 9-cis-retinoids. This study extended current knowledge by establishing binding affinities for CRBPI and CRBPII with 9-cis-retinoids.

Methods: We have determined apparent dissociation constants, K'(d), through monitoring binding of 9-cis-retinol, 9-cis-retinal, and 9-cis-RA with CRBPI and CRBPII by fluorescence spectroscopy, and analyzing the data with non-linear regression. We compared these data to the data we obtained for all-trans- and 13-cis-retinoids under identical conditions.

Results: CRBPI and CRBPII, respectively, bind 9-cis-retinol (K'(d), 11nM and 68nM) and 9-cis-retinal (K'(d), 8nM and 5nM) with high affinity. No significant 9-cis-RA binding was observed with CRBPI or CRBPII.

Conclusions: CRBPI and CRBPII bind 9-cis-retinol and 9-cis-retinal with high affinities, albeit with affinities somewhat lower than for all-trans-retinol and all-trans-retinal.

General significance: These data provide further insight into structure-binding relationships of cellular retinol binding-proteins and are consistent with a model of 9-cis-RA biosynthesis that involves chaperoned delivery of 9-cis-retinoids to enzymes that recognize retinoid binding-proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Alitretinoin
  • Animals
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Diterpenes
  • Fluorometry
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Protein Binding
  • Retinaldehyde / metabolism
  • Retinoid X Receptors / metabolism*
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins, Cellular / metabolism*
  • Tretinoin / metabolism*
  • Vitamin A / metabolism


  • Diterpenes
  • Retinoid X Receptors
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins, Cellular
  • Vitamin A
  • Alitretinoin
  • 9-cis-retinal
  • Tretinoin
  • Retinaldehyde