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Mol Pharmacol. 2002 Feb;61(2):269-76.

Apolipoprotein B mRNA editing and the reduction in synthesis and secretion of the atherogenic risk factor, apolipoprotein B100 can be effectively targeted through TAT-mediated protein transduction.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York 14642, USA.


Hepatic very-low-density lipoprotein particles (VLDL) containing full-length apolipoprotein B100 are metabolized in the blood stream to low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles, whose elevated levels increase the risk of atherosclerosis. Statins and bile-acid sequestrants are effective LDL-lowering therapies for many patients. Development of alternative therapies remains important for patients with adverse reactions to conventional therapy, with defects in the LDL receptor-dependent lipoprotein uptake pathway and for intervention in children. Editing of apoB mRNA by the enzyme APOBEC-1 changes a glutamine codon to a stop codon, leading to the synthesis and secretion of apoB48-containing VLDL, which are rapidly cleared before they can be metabolized to LDL. Human liver does not edit apoB mRNA because it does not express APOBEC-1. Although initially promising, enthusiasm for apobec-1 gene therapy for hypercholesterolemia was blunted by the finding that uncontrolled transgenic expression of APOBEC-1 led to nonspecific editing of mRNAs and pathology. We demonstrate that APOBEC-1 fused to TAT entered primary hepatocytes, where it induced a transient increase in mRNA editing activity and enhanced synthesis and secretion of VLDL containing apoB48. Protein transduction of APOBEC-1 transiently stimulated high levels of apoB mRNA editing in a dose-dependent manner without loss of fidelity. These results suggested that apoB mRNA editing should be re-evaluated as a LDL-lowering therapeutic target in the new context of protein transduction therapy.

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