Purification and characterization of a retinol-binding glycoprotein synthesized and secreted by bovine neural retina

J Biol Chem. 1984 May 25;259(10):6534-42.


A retinol-binding glycoprotein ( IRBP ) was purified in milligram quantities from the extracellular matrix ( interphotoreceptor matrix) that occupies the subretinal space in bovine eyes. IRBP binds 2.2 molecules of all-trans retinol with a KD of approximately 10(-6) M. The holoprotein has lambda max at 280 nm (E1%1 cm = 10.99) and at 330 nm (E1%1 cm = 7.88). When freshly isolated from light-exposed eyes, IRBP contains up to 0.6 molecule of all-trans retinol, together with small amounts of the 11-cis and 13-cis isomers. IRBP also binds exogenous cholesterol, alpha-tocopherol, and all-trans retinoic acid, all of which are completely displaced by all trans retinol. The affinity of alpha-tocopherol for IRBP was at least several orders of magnitude less than that of all-trans retinol. IRBP contains 8.4% by weight of carbohydrate, which consists of sialic acid, neutral hexoses, and glucosamine in the molar ratio of approximately 1:3:2. No galactosamine was detected. Observations on the binding of 125I-labeled lectins to IRBP in sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gels before and after desialosylation suggest that at least one oligosaccharide chain is of the sialated biantennary complex type and contains fucose. The Mr of IRBP on calibrated size-exclusion columns averaged 249,000; on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gels (with or without dithiothreitol) the apparent Mr was 144,000. IRBP exists in at least four isoelectric forms that bind concanavalin A and have pI values ranging from 4.4 to 4.8. Rabbit anti-bovine IRBP antiserum gave a single precipitin line against purified bovine IRBP , which showed a line of complete identity with crude bovine interphotoreceptor matrix and a line of partial identity with human interphotoreceptor matrix. The human material contains a prominent protein with lectin-binding properties similar to bovine IRBP but with a somewhat faster electrophoretic mobility. When isolated bovine neural retinas were incubated with 3H-labeled fucose, glucosamine, or leucine, a solitary labeled protein identified as IRBP was secreted into the medium. Labeled IRBP could not be detected in the medium when retinal pigment epithelium was incubated with these precursors under the same conditions. Neural retinas incubated with 3H-labeled leucine in the presence of tunicamycin secreted a form of IRBP that did not bind concanavalin A and had an Mr reduced by approximately 5,000.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / analysis
  • Animals
  • Carbohydrates / analysis
  • Cattle
  • Concanavalin A
  • Eye Proteins*
  • Immunodiffusion
  • Molecular Weight
  • Photoreceptor Cells / metabolism
  • Retina / metabolism*
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins / isolation & purification*
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins / metabolism


  • Amino Acids
  • Carbohydrates
  • Eye Proteins
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins
  • interstitial retinol-binding protein
  • Concanavalin A