Bovine somatotropin with an increasing number of its carboxylate groups modified by reaction with glycine methyl ester in the presence of a water-soluble carbodi-imide was tested for its activity in different bioassays. Only those derivatives which were known to be active in the body-weight-increase bioassay were able to compete with 125I-labelled bovine somatotropin for their specific binding sites in vivo. No difference was found in the rate of clearance of a poorly active derivative as compared with that of native somatotropin. In contrast, both active and inactive derivatives were found to be equally effective in displacing the tracer from its binding sites present in isolated cells and membrane preparations from rat liver. These results suggest that the liver somatogenic receptors studied in vitro are less discriminating than those detected in vivo.
At 5 min after intravenous injection, both 125I-labelled human somatotropin and 125I-labelled bovine somatotropin were concentrated in rat liver and kidney. When the labelled hormones were administered along with an excess of the corresponding unlabelled hormone, a significant decrease of the uptake was observed in the liver, but not in the kidney. Study of the subcellular distribution of radioiodinated somatotropins in liver revealed that most of the radioactivity was specifically concentrated in the microsomal fraction. In contrast, the kidney fraction that accounted for most of the radioactivity was the 100 000 g supernatant. After solubilization, with 1% (w/v) Triton X-100, of the microsomal fractions obtained from both organs, the radioactive material was analysed by gel filtration on Sepharose CL-6B. By using this approach, it was demonstrated that both 125I-labelled human somatotropin and 125I-labelled bovine somatotropin bind in vivo to proteins present in liver. A small proportion of 125I-labelled human somatotropin was also shown to form complexes with proteins present in kidney. The present results demonstrate that the liver uptake is mainly due to binding of somatotropins to specific proteins, in contrast with the kidney, in which binding to specific sites contributes minimally to the overall uptake.
Specific binding of 125I-labelled human somatotropin was demonstrated in microsomal membranes (microsomes) from rat and rabbit kidneys. Female rabbit kidney microsomes showed the highest binding activity and were used for further study. The association of 125I-labelled human somatotropin was time- and temperature-dependent and the binding reaction was reversible. Scatchard analysis of saturation data indicated a dissociation equilibrium constant, KD, of 56 pM and a binding capacity of 37 fmol per mg of protein. Similar results were obtained from competition experiments. Binding of 125I-labelled human somatotropin to the microsomes was specifically inhibited by hormones with lactogenic activity. The binding sites, as well as 125I-labelled human somatotropin, were not inactivated on incubation. Treatment of the microsomes with trypsin and chymotrypsin decreased the specific binding by over 90%. Preheating of the microsomes at 55 degrees C for 15 min abolished 50% of the specific binding activity.