Research article

Binding of perlecan to transthyretin qin vitro

Sigbjørn SMELAND, Svein Olav KOLSET, Malcolm LYON, Kaare R. NORUM, Rune BLOMHOFF


Transthyretin is one of two specific proteins involved in the transport of thyroid hormones in plasma; it possesses two binding sites for serum retinol-binding protein. In the present study we demonstrate that transthyretin also interacts in vitro with [35S]sulphate-labelled material from the medium of HepG2 cells. By using the same strategy as for purifying serum retinol-binding protein, [35S]sulphate-labelled medium was specifically eluted from a transthyretin-affinity column. Ion-exchange chromatography showed that the material was highly polyanionic, and its size and alkali susceptibility suggested that it was a proteoglycan. Structural analyses with chondroitinase ABC lyase and nitrous acid revealed that approx. 20% was chondroitin sulphate and 80% heparan sulphate. Immunoprecipitation showed that the [35S]sulphate-labelled material contained perlecan. Further analysis by binding studies revealed specific and saturable binding of 125I-transthyretin to perlecan-enriched Matrigel. Because inhibition of sulphation by treating HepG2 cells with sodium chlorate increased the affinity of the perlecan for transthyretin, and [3H]heparin was not retained by the transthyretin affinity column, the binding is probably mediated by the core protein and is not a protein–glycosaminoglycan interaction. Because perlecan is released from transthyretin in water, the binding might be due to hydrophobic interactions.