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Biophys J. 1995 May;68(5):2115-23.

Cryoelectron microscopy of low density lipoprotein in vitreous ice.

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Department of Biophysics, Boston University School of Medicine, Massachusetts 02118, USA.


In this report, images of low density lipoprotein (LDL) in vitreous ice at approximately 30 A resolution are presented. These images show that LDL is a quasi-spherical particle, approximately 220-240 A in diameter, with a region of low density (lipid) surrounded by a ring (in projection) of high density believed to represent apolipoprotein B-100. This ring is seen to be composed of four or five (depending on view) large regions of high density material that may represent protein superdomains. Analysis of LDL images obtained at slightly higher magnification reveals that areas of somewhat lower density connect these regions, in some cases crossing the projectional interiors of the LDL particles. Preliminary image analysis of LDL covalently labeled at Cys3734 and Cys4190 with 1.4-nm Nanogold clusters demonstrates that this methodology will provide an important site-specific marker in studies designed to map the organization of apoB at the surface of LDL.

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