The binding of human 125I-labeled 'anionic polypeptidic fraction' (APF) to purified rat liver plasma membranes was studied. The dissociation constant for this binding was 3.0 micrograms protein/mg membrane protein. Binding was competitively inhibited by unlabeled human APF, but not by human LDL (low density lipoproteins). When unlabeled HDL3 was added, binding of labeled APF was competitively reduced to a level between that of unlabeled APF and unlabeled LDL. Experiments with cultured rat hepatocytes confirmed those obtained with liver membranes and suggested the presence in rat liver of saturable APF-binding sites which seem to be specific for APF. The physiologic significance of these APF binding sites is discussed in relation to the fate of cholesterol in the liver.
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