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J Biol Chem. 2000 Mar 17;275(11):7515-20.

A deficiency of microsomal triglyceride transfer protein reduces apolipoprotein B secretion.

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Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, University of California, San Francisco, California 94141-9100, USA.


Microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP) transfers lipids to apolipoprotein B (apoB) within the endoplasmic reticulum, a process that involves direct interactions between apoB and the large subunit of MTP. Recent studies with heterozygous MTP knockout mice have suggested that half-normal levels of MTP in the liver reduce apoB secretion. We hypothesized that reduced apoB secretion in the setting of half-normal MTP levels might be caused by a reduced MTP:apoB ratio in the endoplasmic reticulum, which would reduce the number of apoB-MTP interactions. If this hypothesis were true, half-normal levels of MTP might have little impact on lipoprotein secretion in the setting of half-normal levels of apoB synthesis (since the ratio of MTP to apoB would not be abnormally low) and might cause an exaggerated reduction in lipoprotein secretion in the setting of apoB overexpression (since the MTP:apoB ratio would be even lower). To test this hypothesis, we examined the effects of heterozygous MTP deficiency on apoB metabolism in the setting of normal levels of apoB synthesis, half-normal levels of apoB synthesis (heterozygous Apob deficiency), and increased levels of apoB synthesis (transgenic overexpression of human apoB). Contrary to our expectations, half-normal levels of MTP reduced the plasma apoB100 levels to the same extent ( approximately 25-35%) at each level of apoB synthesis. In addition, apoB secretion from primary hepatocytes was reduced to a comparable extent at each level of apoB synthesis. Thus, these results indicate that the concentration of MTP within the endoplasmic reticulum rather than the MTP:apoB ratio is the critical determinant of lipoprotein secretion. Finally, we found that heterozygosity for an apoB knockout mutation lowered plasma apoB100 levels more than heterozygosity for an MTP knockout allele. Consistent with that result, hepatic triglyceride accumulation was greater in heterozygous apoB knockout mice than in heterozygous MTP knockout mice.

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