Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2007 Jan;27(1):211-8. Epub 2006 Oct 12.

MEK-ERK inhibition corrects the defect in VLDL assembly in HepG2 cells: potential role of ERK in VLDL-ApoB100 particle assembly.

Author information

  • 1Division of Clinical Biochemistry, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 1X8.



Hepatic VLDL assembly is defective in HepG2 cells, resulting in the secretion of immature triglyceride-poor LDL-sized apoB particles. We investigated the mechanisms underlying defective VLDL assembly in HepG2 and have obtained evidence implicating the MEK-ERK pathway.


HepG2 cells exhibited considerably higher levels of the ERK1/2 mass and activity compared with primary hepatocytes. Inhibition of ERK1/2 using the MEK1/MEK2 inhibitor, U0126 (but not the inactive analogue) led to a significant increase in apoB secretion. In the presence of oleic acid, ERK1/2 inhibition caused a major shift in the lipoprotein distribution with a majority of particles secreted as VLDL, an effect independent of insulin. In contrast, overexpression of constitutively active MEK1 decreased apoB and large VLDL secretion. MEK1/2 inhibition significantly increased both cellular and microsomal TG mass, and mRNA levels for DGAT-1 and DGAT-2. In contrast to ERK, modulation of the PI3-K pathway or inhibition of the p38 MAP kinase, had no effect on lipoprotein density profile. Modulation of the MEK-ERK pathway in primary hamster hepatocytes led to changes in apoB secretion and altered the density profile of apoB-containing lipoproteins.


Inhibition of the overactive ras-MEK-ERK pathway in HepG2 cells can correct the defect in VLDL assembly leading to the secretion of large, VLDL-sized particles, similar to primary hepatocytes, implicating the MEK-ERK cascade in VLDL assembly in the HepG2 model. Modulation of this pathway in primary hepatocytes also regulates apoB secretion and appears to alter the formation of VLDL-1 sized particles.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Publication Types, MeSH Terms, Substances

Publication Types

MeSH Terms


PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk