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J Biol Chem. 1996 Sep 6;271(36):22218-24.

Receptor-associated protein is a folding chaperone for low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein.

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  • 1Edward Mallinkrodt Department of Pediatrics, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


The 39-kDa receptor-associated protein (RAP) is a receptor antagonist that inhibits ligand interactions with the receptors that belong to the low density lipoprotein receptor gene family. Our previous studies have demonstrated that RAP interacts with the low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein (LRP) within the endoplasmic reticulum and prevents premature interaction of ligands with the receptor. To analyze whether RAP is also involved in the folding of LRP during receptor biosynthesis, we generated anchor-free, soluble minireceptors that represent each of the four putative ligand-binding domains of LRP (SLRP1, -2, -3, and -4, corresponding to the clusters with 2, 8, 10, and 11 cysteine-rich complement-type repeats, respectively). When these SLRPs were overexpressed by cell transfection, only SLRP1 was secreted. Little or no secretion was observed for SLRP2, -3, and -4. However, when RAP cDNA was cotransfected with SLRP2, -3, and -4 cDNAs, each of these SLRPs was secreted. The cellular retention of SLRPs in the absence of RAP coexpression appeared to be a result of the formation of SDS-resistant, oligomeric aggregates observed under nonreducing conditions. Such oligomers of the SLRPs likely resulted from formation of intermolecular disulfide bonds since they were reduced to monomers when analyzed under reducing conditions. The oligomers were formed not only among molecules of a given SLRP, but also between different SLRPs. The role of RAP in the process of LRP folding was shown by the reduction in aggregated SLRP oligomers upon RAP coexpression. A similar role of RAP in preventing the aggregation of newly synthesized receptor was also observed using membrane-containing minireceptor of LRP. Coimmunoprecipitation and ligand binding studies demonstrated that RAP binds avidly to SLRP2, -3, and -4, but not to SLRP1. These results suggest that these interactions may be important for proper folding of LRP by ensuring the formation of proper intradomain, but not intermolecular or interdomain, disulfide bonds. Thus, our results strongly suggest that, in addition to the prevention of premature binding of ligands to LRP, RAP also plays an important role in receptor folding.

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