Practical issues concerning tear protein assays in dry eye
In addition to circulation, where it transfers phospholipids between lipoprotein particles, phospholipid transfer protein (PLTP) was also identified as a component of normal tear fluid. The purpose of this study was to clarify the secretion route of tear fluid PLTP and elucidate possible interactions between PLTP and other tear fluid proteins. Human lacrimal gland samples were stained with monoclonal antibodies against PLTP. Heparin-Sepharose (H-S) affinity chromatography was used for specific PLTP binding, and coeluted proteins were identified with MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry or Western blot analysis. Immunoprecipitation assay and blotting with specific antibodies helped to identify and characterize PLTP-mucin interaction in tear fluid. Human tear fluid PLTP is secreted from the lacrimal gland. MALDI-TOF analysis of H-S fractions identified several candidate proteins, but protein-protein interaction assays revealed only ocular mucins as PLTP interaction partners. We suggest a dual role for PLTP in human tear fluid: (1) to scavenge lipophilic substances from ocular mucins and (2) to maintain the stability of the anterior tear lipid film. PLTP may also play a role in the development of ocular surface disease.