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J Biol Chem. 1997 Sep 19;272(38):23946-51.

Soluble low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein (LRP) circulates in human plasma.

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  • 1Center for Thrombosis and Vascular Research, University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052, Australia.


Our studies have identified a soluble molecule in normal human plasma and serum with the characteristics of the alpha-chain of the low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein (LRP). LRP is a large multifunctional receptor mediating the clearance of diverse ligands, including selected lipoproteins, various protease inhibitor complexes, and thrombospondin. A soluble molecule (sLRP) has been isolated from plasma using an affinity matrix coupled with methylamine-activated alpha2-macroglobulin, the ligand uniquely recognized by LRP, and eluted with EDTA. This eluate contains a protein that co-migrates on SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis with authentic human placental LRP alpha-chain, is recognized by anti-LRP alpha-chain monoclonal antibodies, and binds the 39-kDa receptor-associated protein (RAP) and tissue plasminogen activator-inhibitor complexes. A similar RAP-binding molecule was detected in medium conditioned for 24 h by primary cultures of rat hepatocytes, suggesting that the liver may be the in vivo source of sLRP. In contrast, immunoprecipitation experiments failed to detect the production of sLRP by cultured HepG2 hepatoma and primary human fibroblast cells. Addition of a soluble form of LRP to cultured HepG2 cells resulted in a significant inhibition of capacity of these cells to degrade tPA, a process that has been demonstrated to be mediated by cell surface LRP. Preliminary data indicate that the concentration of sLRP is altered in the plasma of patients with liver disease. Increased levels of sLRP may antagonize the clearance of ligands by cell bound LRP perturbing diverse processes including lipid metabolism, cell migration and extracellular proteinase activity.

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