Send to

Choose Destination
Alcohol. 1999 Nov;19(3):239-47.

Alcohol and molecular regulation of protein glycosylation and function.

Author information

Lipid Research Laboratory, DVA Medical Center, and Department of Medicine, The George Washington University, Washington, DC 20422, USA.


Chronic alcohol exposure leads to the appearance of carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT), a N-glycosylated protein and sialic acid-deficient apolipoprotein E (apoE), an O-glycosylated protein. We show that chronic ethanol treatment destabilizes sialyltransferase (ST) mRNA resulting in a concomitant decreased steady-state level of ST mRNA. As a result, alcohol markedly decreases the hepatic synthetic rate of ST. This leads to impaired sialylation of transferrin and apoE. Consequently, apoE content in plasma high-density lipoproteins (HDL) is decreased. ApoE plays a significant role in the delivery of HDL cholesterol to the liver via apo B/E receptor, a process called reverse cholesterol transport (RCT). Desialylation of apoE results in its decreased association with HDL. Thus, the dissociation constant of HDL for binding to sialo-apoE is 90 +/- 35 nM, whereas that for desialo-apoE is 1010 +/- 250 nM. More importantly, the uptake of labeled cholesterol by human HepG2 cells is decreased by 30-40% from reconstituted HDL particles (rHDL)-containing desialo-apoE compared to rHDL with sialo-apoE. We conclude that chronic alcohol exposure down-regulates the expression of sialyltransferase genes resulting in impaired sialylation of apoE. This leads to its decreased binding to plasma HDL and thereby, impairs the RCT function of HDL.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center