Multivalent interaction between asialofetuin and plasma membrane preparations from the rat liver
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Binding of bovine asialofetuin by rat liver plasma membranes was studied using different techniques for the separation of the free and bound forms of the glycoprotein and also different approaches to measure nonspecific binding. The membrane preparations had the electron microscopic appearance of a mixture of lamellae and vesicles and their lipid:protein ratios and marker enzyme profiles fell within the range of values available from the literature. The binding capacity was approximately 15 pmol of asialofetuin per milligram of membrane protein. Scatchard plots of the values obtained over a wide range of concentrations (4.8--12.6 micrograms asialofetuin per 30 micrograms membrane protein) after incubation at 22 degrees C showed pronounced nonlinearity which, in combination with evaluations according to other theoretical models, was referable to heterogeneity of binding. In sharp contrast, after incubation at 4 degrees C the Scatchard plot was linear. This difference is interpreted as the expression of a functional, rather than a chemical, heterogeneity in asialofetuin binding. The underlying mechanism is thought to be competition of galactose groups for binding sites with the result that the number of bonds varies between the galactose groups of a bound asialofetuin molecular and the hepatic lectin, depending on the concentration of the glycoprotein in the incubation mixture.
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