The asialoglycoprotein receptor (ASGPR), an endocytotic cell surface receptor expressed by hepatocytes, is triggered by triantennary binding to galactose residues of macromolecules such as asialoorosomucoid (ASOR). The capacity of this receptor to import large molecules across the cellular plasma membrane makes it an enticing target for receptor-mediated drug delivery to hepatocytes and hepatoma cells via ASGPR-mediated endocytosis. This study describes the preparation and characterization of 125I-ASOR, and its utility in the assessment of ASGPR expression by HepG2, HepAD38 and Huh5-2 human hepatoma cell lines. ASOR was prepared from human orosomucoid, using acid hydrolysis to remove sialic acid residues, then radioiodinated using iodogen. 125I-ASOR was purified by gel column chromatography and characterized by SDS-PAGE electrophoresis. The ASOR yield by acid hydrolysis was 75%, with ∼87 % of the sialic acid residues removed. Electrophoresis and gel chromatography demonstrated substantial differences in 125I-ASOR quality depending on the method of radioiodination. ASGPR densities per cell were estimated at 76,000 (HepG2), 17,000 (HepAD38) and 3,000 (Huh- 5-2). 125I-ASOR binding to ASGPR on HepG2 cells was confirmed through galactose- and EDTA- challenge studies. It is concluded that 125I-ASOR is a facilely-prepared, stable assay reagent for ASGPR expression if appropriately prepared, and that HepG2 cells, but not HepAD38 or Huh-5-2 cells, are suitable for studies exploiting the endocytotic ASGPR.
Keywords: Asialoglycoprotein receptor, ASGPR, HepG2, HepAD38, Huh-5-2, asialorosomucoid, I-ASOR, radioiodination, targeted drug delivery
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