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J Lipid Res. 1995 Mar;36(3):407-13.

Polarized secretion of apoA-I and apoA-II by transfected MDCK cells.

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  • 1National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Apolipoproteins (apo) are secreted preferentially from the basolateral surface of hepatocytes and enterocytes. The polarized secretion of proteins is either mediated by a protein-dependent sorting signal or by a cell-dependent default pathway. In order to determine the mechanism for the polarized secretion of apolipoproteins, we examined the secretion of apoA-I and apoA-II in transfected Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells. Transfected MDCK cells and Caco-2 cells were grown as a polarized monolayer on tissue culture inserts, which separate an upper apical compartment from the lower basolateral compartment, and the secretion of apoA-I and apoA-II into the apical and basolateral compartments was quantitated by immunoprecipitation. Caco-2 cells almost exclusively secreted apoA-I and apoA-II basolaterally, with an apical to basolateral ratio of 18:82 for apoA-I, and 11:89 for apoA-II. In contrast, transfected MDCK cells secreted significant amounts of apoA-I and apoA-II into both compartments, but with a bias toward apical secretion and an apical to basolateral ratio of 66:34 and 68:32, respectively. The polarized secretion of MDCK cells was not due to transcytosis, diffusion, or differential recovery. As assessed by density gradient ultracentrifugation, apoA-I and apoA-II secreted from either the apical or basolateral surface were relatively lipid-poor. Overall, these results suggest that the polarized secretion of apoA-I and apoA-II does not occur by a protein-dependent sorting signal, but by a cell-dependent default pathway that leads to preferential basolateral secretion by Caco-2 cells and both apical and basolateral secretion in MDCK cells, but with a bias toward apical secretion.

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