Retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4) is the specific carrier for retinol (also known as vitamin A), and is responsible for the conversion of unstable and insoluble retinol in aqueous solution into stable and soluble complex in plasma through their tight interaction. As a member of the lipocalin superfamily, RBP4 containing a β-barrel structure with a well-defined cavity is secreted from the liver, and in turn delivers retinol from the liver stores to the peripheral tissues. In plasma, the RBP4-retinol complex interacts with transthyretin (TTR), and this binding is crucial for preventing RBP4 excretion through the kidney glomeruli. RBP4 expressed from an ectopic source efficiently delivers retinol to the eyes, and its deficiency affects night vision largely. Recently, RBP4 as an adipokine, is found to be expressed in adipose tissue and correlated with obesity, insulin resistance (IR) and type 2 diabetes (T2DM).
retinol binding protein 4, plasma
- Yang Q, et al. (2005) Serum retinol binding protein 4 contributes to insulin resistance in obesity and type 2 diabetes. Nature. 436(7049): 356-62.
- Choi SH, et al. (2008) High plasma retinol binding protein-4 and low plasma adiponectin concentrations are associated with severity of glucose intolerance in women with previous gestational diabetes mellitus. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 93(8): 3142-8.
- Tepper BJ, et al. (2010) Serum retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4) and retinol in a cohort of borderline obese women with and without gestational diabetes. Clin Biochem. 43(3): 320-3.