Transfer of cobalamin from intrinsic factor to transcobalamin II

Nancy Brada, Marilyn M. Gordon, Jipu Wen, David H. Alpers

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The process is obscure by which cobalamin (Cbl) in the endocytosed intrinsic factor (IF)-cobalamin (Cbl) complex is released and transferred to transcobalamin II (TCII) within the enterocyte. Using recombinant IF and TCII, binding of Cbl to IF at pH 5.0 was 70% of binding at pH 7.0, whereas for TCII alone, the value was only 12%. TCII binding activity was lost rapidly at lower pH, but this was not due to protease action. TCII incubated at pH 5.0 with cathepsin L was degraded and could not subsequently bind Cbl. Thus, transfer from IF to TCII is unlikely to occur within an acid compartment. Only 13-15% of bound Cbl was released at pH 5.0 and pH 6.0 from either rat IF, human IF, or human TCII. The K a of human or rat IF at pH 7.5 was 2.2 nM; for TCII, the value was 0.34 nM. At pH 7.5, Cbl transfers from IF to TCII, but only to a limited extent (21%), as detected by nondenaturing electrophoresis. Transfer of Cbl from IF to TCII could not be demonstrated at pH values of 5.0 or 6.0. Thus, luminal transfer of Cbl between IF and TCII is likely to be limited, but is possible. The most likely mechanism for intracellular transfer of Cbl from IF to TCII involves initial lysosomal proteolysis of IF, with subsequent Cbl binding to TCII in a more neutral cellular compartment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-206
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 5 2001


  • Cobalamin binding proteins
  • Human IF
  • Human TCII
  • Rat IF
  • Vitamin B

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