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J Biol Chem. 1987 Feb 15;262(5):2275-82.

Purification and characterization of a human plasma cholesteryl ester transfer protein.


The cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) binds to plasma lipoproteins and promotes transfer of cholesteryl esters between the lipoproteins. CETP has been purified 55,000-fold, with a 27% recovery of activity, from the d greater than 1.21 g/ml fraction of human plasma. In the final purification step, partially purified CETP is incubated with a synthetic lipid emulsion consisting of phosphatidylcholine, triglyceride, and fatty acid, and the bound activity, which elutes in the void volume, is separated from nonbound proteins by gel filtration on Sepharose 4B. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-gel analysis of fractions containing bound activity shows the presence of a single protein with an apparent Mr of 74,000. Inclusion of fatty acid in this emulsion was required to prevent the binding of a contaminant protein. However, incubation of CEPT with fatty acid emulsions containing lipid peroxides resulted in substantial inactivation and covalent degradation of the 74-kDa protein. This could be prevented by the inclusion of antioxidants during preparation of the emulsion. Solvent extraction of emulsion-bound CEPT gave a delipidated, active preparation. Purified IgG from a rabbit immunized with the 74-kDa protein completely removed activity from partially purified fractions. Amino acid analysis of the purified protein showed it to contain an unusually high content (45%) of nonpolar residues; the calculated hydrophobicity was greater than that of any other plasma apolipoprotein. These results show human CETP to be a unique plasma apolipoprotein with an apparent Mr of 74,000 which is hydrophobic, self-associating, and susceptible to covalent degradation by lipid peroxides.

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