This protein has a strong structural homology with albumin and alpha-fetoprotein, both of which are genetically related to DBP, and consequently DBP shares some of their functional properties, such as the capacity to bind fatty acids, particularly palmitic and oleic acids. Moreover, it has been reported that araquidonic acid can affect the binding of vitamin D by DBP in vitro. As well as being present in the circulation, DBP has been detected on the surface of several cell types such as cytotrophoblast isolated from human placentae, yolk sac endodermal cells, and some T-lymphocytes. In B-cells, DBP seems to participate in the linkage of surface immunoglobulins.
DBP is known to be synthesised in significant amounts only by the liver and secreted into the blood, though mRNA has also been found in many tissues (kindney, testis, abdominal fat, fetal yolk sac), but in levels 100-1000-fold less than in liver.
The the three internal domains based on the predicted disulfide bonding pattern (Brown, 1976) both in rat albumin and DBP are very similar. The main difference is the truncation in DBP of the third domain.
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