Regulation of phorbol esters of asialoglycoprotein and transferrin receptor distribution and ligand affinity in a hepatoma cell line

R. J. Fallon, A. L. Schwartz

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34 Scopus citations


We have investigated the simultaneous regulation of cell surface distribution and ligand binding of the asialoglycoprotein (ASGP) receptor and the transferrin receptor in a hepatoma cell line by phorbol esters. One hour exposure to phorbol esters causes a redistribution of both receptors to the cell interior as shown by radioligand binding at 4°C and selective immunoprecipitation from the plasma membrane. This effect is temperature- and dose-dependent and is not seen with 4-α-phorbol, an inactive tumor promoter. The mechanism and kinetics of the ASGP receptor response to phorbol esters appears to differ from that of the transferrin receptor in this cell line. Within the first 10 min there is a decrease in binding of iodinated ligands for both receptors to the HepG2 cell surface. For the transferrin receptor this results from a net internalization of receptor molecules from the plasma membrane pool, while for the ASGP receptor this decrease is accounted for by a 3.5-fold reduction in ligand binding affinity (6.6 x 10-8 M to 24.0 x 10-8 M), with essentially no change in the number of ASGP receptors recoverable from the plasma membrane pool by immunoprecipitation. The altered affinity of the ASGP-R is transient; the K(d) returns to control levels by 20 min of continued exposure to the agent. The transferrin receptor shows no change in binding affinity during the course of exposure to phorbol esters. ASGP receptors in cells exposed to phorbol esters for 1 h maintain their competence to liver exogenous ligand to intracellular sites of degradation and to participate in the recycling pathway of receptor-mediated endocytosis, although at a lower rate than in control cells. We conclude that under identical conditions phorbol esters modulate the binding capacity of two receptors at the cell surface by separate mechanisms. Furthermore, the transient nature of the altered ASGP-R binding affinity suggests that at least two mechanisms, receptor redistribution as well as decreased binding affinity, are operative in the modulation of ASGP-R cell surface binding during the first hour of exposure to the phorbol esters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15081-15089
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number32
StatePublished - 1986


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