Comparison of the tissue-specific expression and developmental regulation of two closely linked rodent genes encoding cytosolic retinol-binding proteins.

Marc Levin, E. Li, D. E. Ong, Jeffrey Gordon

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62 Scopus citations


Cellular retinol-binding protein (CRBP) and cellular retinol-binding protein II (CRBP II) are two highly homologous cytoplasmic proteins that bind all-trans-retinol. We have recently demonstrated that the mouse genes encoding CRBP and CRBP II are closely linked on chromosome 9 and that both human genes are located on chromosome 3 (Demmer, L.A., Birkenmeier, E.H., Sweetser, D.A., Levin, M.S., Zollman, S., Sparkes, R.S., Mohandas, T., Lusis, A.J., and Gordon, J.I. (1987) J. Biol. Chem. 262, 2458-2467). We have now used RNA blot hybridization analysis to assess the degree to which these genes are coordinately expressed in fetal, suckling, weaning, and adult rat tissues. Both genes exhibit different developmental patterns of expression in liver, intestine, lung, kidney, testes, and placenta. In the intestine, CRBP mRNA was detected during the 16th day of gestation--prior to the development of a well-differentiated absorptive epithelium--and remained essentially unchanged throughout the peri- and postpartum periods. By contrast, the pattern of intestinal CRBP II mRNA accumulation closely parallels the times of first appearance, and subsequent proliferation, of the intestinal absorptive columnar epithelium, supporting the hypothesis that CRBP II is involved in the intestinal uptake or intracellular trafficking of this hydrophobic vitamin. In the fetal liver, both genes were expressed by gestational day 16. Whereas the concentration of hepatic CRBP mRNA increased markedly during the suckling and early weaning periods, CRBP II mRNA levels fell abruptly immediately after birth. These peripartum changes were not paralleled by remarkable alterations in the steady state levels of hepatic retinol. Marked changes in the expression of CRBP in the liver and of CRBP II in the intestine were also documented in pregnant and lactating female rats. These differences in CRBP/CRBP II gene expression strongly suggest that their proteins serve different physiological functions. The peripartum liver may provide a useful model for dissecting the relative roles played by these homologous proteins in retinoid metabolism as well as the factors which modulate activation and repression their genes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7118-7124
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number15
StatePublished - May 25 1987

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