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J Biol Chem. 1987 Dec 5;262(34):16394-402.

Intrahepatic assembly of very low density lipoproteins. Rate of transport out of the endoplasmic reticulum determines rate of secretion.

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Department of Physiology, Louisiana State University Medical School, New Orleans 70112.


To identify the rate-limiting step(s) in the hepatic production of very low density lipoproteins (VLDL), we investigated the intracellular distribution and rate of intracellular transport of de novo synthesized apolipoprotein B (apoB). For all secretory proteins examined (i.e. albumin, large molecular weight apoB, and small molecular weight apoB) the rough and smooth microsomes contained the majority of intracellular de novo synthesized protein, while the Golgi subfraction contained 10% or less. Pulse-chase analysis of the intracellular movement of apoB and albumin showed that the first order rate constant (in terms of half-life) describing the rate of movement out of the smooth and rough microsomes determined the overall rate of movement out of the cell. These data suggest that movement out of the endoplasmic reticulum, the site where VLDL is assembled, determines the overall rate of secretion. Furthermore, compared to albumin, the rate of intracellular transport of apoB was approximately two times slower suggesting that processing unique to VLDL apoB occurring in the endoplasmic reticulum was responsible. Additional studies show that essentially all of the de novo synthesized 35S-labeled albumin (produced from a pulse of [35S]methionine) lost from the cell during the chase period could be recovered in the culture medium. In contrast, much less of large molecular weight apoB (36%) and small molecular weight apoB (60%) was recovered in the culture medium. Since these cultured rat hepatocytes do not take up or degrade newly secreted apoB, these data suggest that a significant amount of apoB is degraded intracellularly.

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