Subcellular localization of retinoids, retinoid-binding proteins, and acyl-CoA:retinol acyltransferase in rat liver

E. H. Harrison, W. S. Blaner, D. S. Goodman, A. C. Ross

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Studies were conducted to define the subcellular localization of endogenous retinoids (vitamin A), retinoid-binding proteins, and acyl-CoA:retinol acyltransferase (ARAT) in liver and to determine whether their distributions were affected by heptatic vitamin A content. Quantitative subcellular fractionation techniques were used. Rats were fed purified diets either containing or lacking vitamin A to obtain animals with total retinoid stores ranging from 0.5 to 172 μg of retinol equivalent per gram of liver. Liver homogenates were fractionated by differential centrifugation to yield nuclear (N), mitochondrial-lysosomal (ML), microsomal (P), and high-speed supernatant (S) fractions. N, ML, and P were washed two more times by resuspension and centrifugation to remove constituents bound nonspecifically. S was further resolved into 'floating lipid' and underlying 'cytosol' by prolonged ultracentrifugation. The distributions of marker constituents were not affected by vitamin A status. Most of the retinyl ester in the liver was recovered in the S fraction where it was entirely (> 95%) associated with floating lipid. About half of the total free retinol was also recovered in the S fraction, but it was mostly (2/3) associated with cytosol per se. A substantial portion (30%) of the free retinol was recovered in the 3 x-washed microsomal (P) fraction. Sufficient binding capacity for retinol was present in both P (as retinol-binding protein) and S (as cellular retinol-binding protein) to quantitatively account for the amounts of free retinol present in the two fractions. ARAT activity in the liver was distributed among the subcellular fractions in a manner identical with an endoplasmic reticulum marker enzyme (NADPH-cytochrome C reductase). Neither its absolute activity nor its relative distribution among subcellular fractions was affected by the level of total vitamin A stored in the liver.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)973-981
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Lipid Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1987

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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