What is the physiology of albumin synthesis?

Updated: Sep 11, 2020
  • Author: Ruben Peralta, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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Albumin synthesis begins in the nucleus, where genes are transcribed into messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA). The mRNA is secreted into the cytoplasm, where it is bound to ribosomes, forming polysomes that synthesize preproalbumin. Preproalbumin is an albumin molecule with a 24 amino acid extension at the N terminus. The amino acid extension signals insertion of preproalbumin into the membrane of the endoplasmic reticulum. Once inside the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum, the leading 18 amino acids of this extension are cleaved, leaving proalbumin (albumin with the remaining extension of 6 amino acids). Proalbumin is the principal intracellular form of albumin. Proalbumin is exported to the Golgi apparatus, where the extension of 6 amino acids is removed prior to secretion of albumin by the hepatocyte. Once synthesized, albumin is secreted immediately; it is not stored in the liver.

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