Tributyltin-binding protein type 1 (TBT-bp1) is a newly discovered protein that binds with TBT in the blood of the Japanese flounder, Paralichthys olivaceus. We determined the genomic sequence of TBT-bp1 and found that this protein has a conserved exon-intron structure that is common to the lipocalin protein family. The secondary and tertiary structures of TBT-bp1, predicted from amino acid sequence, included at least two α-helices and eight β-sheets that are conserved in all lipocalins and form a barrel structure that may bind with ligands. Analysis of the gene structure, secondary structure, and tertiary structure demonstrated that TBT-bp1 could be classified as a lipocalin. A homology search revealed the presence of TBT-bp1-like proteins in eight species of teleost. When flounder were injected intraperitoneally with TBT-d27 at 11.6 μg/fish, TBT-d27 was detected in the blood and in the skin mucus. The concentration of TBT-d27 in mucus was approximately 1/100 of that in the serum. Western blotting analysis revealed that TBT-bp1 was present in the skin mucus. These results suggest that TBT-bp1 in Japanese flounder binds with TBT and is excreted from the body via the mucus.
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