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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Apr 2;99(7):4337-42. Epub 2002 Mar 19.

Endoplasmic reticulum localization of the low density lipoprotein receptor mediates presecretory degradation of apolipoprotein B.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706-1544, USA.


Mutations in the low density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor (LDLR) cause hypercholesterolemia because of inefficient LDL clearance from the circulation. In addition, there is a paradoxical oversecretion of the metabolic precursor of LDL, very low density lipoprotein (VLDL). We recently demonstrated that the LDLR mediates pre-secretory degradation of the major VLDL protein, apolipoprotein B (apoB). Kinetic studies suggested that the degradation process is initiated in the secretory pathway. Here, we evaluated the ability of several LDLR variants that are stalled within the secretory pathway to regulate apoB secretion. Both a naturally occurring mutant LDLR and an LDLR consisting of only the ligand-binding domains and a C-terminal endoplasmic reticulum (ER) retention sequence were localized to the ER and not at the cell surface. In the presence of either of the ER-localized LDLRs, apoB secretion was essentially abolished. When the ligand-binding domain of the truncated receptor was mutated the receptor was unable to block apoB secretion, indicating that the inhibition of apoB secretion depends on the ability of the LDLR to bind to its ligand. These findings establish LDLR-mediated pre-secretory apoB degradation as a pathway distinct from reuptake of nascent lipoproteins at the cell surface. The LDLR provides an example of a receptor that modulates export of its ligand from the ER.

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