2State Research Institute for Highly Pure Biopreparations, ul. Pudozhskaya 7, 197110 St. Petersburg, Russia; fax: (7-812) 235-5504
* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received December 29, 2004; Revision received April 20, 2005
The presence of a complex of the copper-containing protein ceruloplasmin (Cp) with lactoferrin (Lf) in breast milk (BM) is shown for the first time. In SDS-free polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE), electrophoretic mobility of Cp in BM is lower than that of plasma Cp, coinciding with the mobility of the complex obtained upon mixing purified Cp and Lf. Affinity chromatography of delipidated BM on Cp-Sepharose resulted in retention of Lf. SDS-PAGE of the 0.3 M NaCl eluate revealed a single band with Mr ~ 78,000 that has the N-terminal amino acid sequence of Lf and reacts with antibodies to that protein. Synthetic peptides R-R-R-R (the N-terminal amino acid stretch 2-5 in Lf) and K-R-Y-K-Q-R-V-K-N-K (the C-terminal stretch 29-38 in PACAP 38) caused efficient elution of Lf from Cp-Sepharose. Cp-Lf complex from delipidated BM is not retained on the resins used for isolation of Cp (AE-agarose) and of Lf (CM-Sephadex). Anionic peptides from Cp--(586-597), (721-734), and (905-914)--provide an efficient elution of Cp from AE-agarose, but do not cause dissociation of Cp-Lf complex. When anti-Lf is added to BM flowed through CM-Sephadex, Cp co-precipitates with Lf. Cp-Lf complex can be isolated from BM by chromatography on CM-Sephadex, ethanol precipitation, and affinity chromatography on AE-agarose, yielding 98% pure complex. The resulting complex Cp-Lf (1 : 1) was separated into components by chromatography on heparin-Sepharose. Limited tryptic hydrolysis of Cp obtained from BM and from blood plasma revealed identical proteolytic fragments.
KEY WORDS: ceruloplasmin, lactoferrin, protein-protein interactions, breast milk