Alteration of the binding specificity of cellular retionl-binding protein II by site-directed mutagenesis

L. Cheng, S. Qian -j., C. Rothschild, A. d'Avignon, J. B. Lefkowith, J. I. Gordon, E. Li

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39 Scopus citations


Rat cellular retinol-binding protein II (CRBP II) is an abundant 134-residue intestinal protein that binds all-trans-retinol and all-trans-retinal. It belongs to a family of homologous, 15-kDa cytoplasmic proteins that bind hydrophobic ligands in a noncovalent fashion. These binding proteins include a number of proteins that bind long chain fatty acids. X-ray analyses of the structure of two family members, rat intestinal fatty acid-binding protein and bovine myelin P2 protein, indicate that they have a high degree of conformational similarity and that the carboxylate group of their bound fatty acid interacts with a δ-guanidium group of at least 1 of 2 ''buried'' arginine residues. These 2 Arg residues are conserved in other family members that bind long chain fatty acids and in cellular retinoic acid-binding protein, but are replaced by Gln109 and Gln129 in CRBP II. We have genetically engineered two amino acid substitutions in CRBP II: 1) Gln109 to Arg and 2) Gln129 to Arg. The purified Escherichia coli-derived CRBP II mutant proteins were analyzed by fluorescence and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Both mutants exhibit markedly decreased binding of all-trans-retinol and all-trans-retinaldehyde, but no increased binding of all-trans-retinoic acid. Arg substitution for Gln109 but not for Gln129 produces a dramatic increase in palmitate binding activity. Analysis of the endogenous fatty acids associated with the purified E. coli-derived proteins revealed that E. coli-derived intestinal fatty acid binding protein and the Arg109 CRBP II mutant are complexed with endogenous fatty acids in a qualitatively and quantiatively similar manner. These results provide evidence that this internal Arg may play an important role in the binding of long chain fatty acids by members of this protein family.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24404-24412
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number36
StatePublished - 1991


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