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J Lipid Res. 1997 Dec;38(12):2411-21.

LDL-mediated interaction of Lp[a] with HepG2 cells: a novel fluorescence microscopy approach.

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Department of Biochemistry and Food Chemistry, Technische Universit├Ąt Graz, Austria.


We studied the topography of Lp[a]-LDL-cell interactions by means of fluorescence microscopy, using fluorescence-labeled lipoproteins. In contrast to known methods which are based on noncovalent labeling of lipoproteins by positively charged amphiphiles, the protein moiety of LDL and Lp[a] was covalently labeled with either BODIP-succinimide-ester (green) or rhodamine X iodoacetamide (red). The interaction of the fluorescent lipoproteins with cultured HepG2 cells was studied using a confocal laser scanning fluorescence microscope. LDL and Lp[a], each labeled with a different dye, could be examined separately within a mixture of both lipoproteins during their interaction with HepG2 cells. At 4 degrees C, the majority of both fluorescent particles co-localized and only a few separate LDL- or Lp[a]-binding domains could be observed. Quantification of the amount of fluorescent lipoprotein associated with the cell surface at 4 degrees C showed that binding of Lp[a] was increased in the presence of LDL under these conditions, probably via formation of an Lp[a]-LDL complex. At 37 degrees C, LDL and Lp[a] were taken up by the cells within 10 min. Again the majority of LDL and Lp[a] particles co-localized intracellularly. Only minor amounts of LDL and Lp[a] could be observed separately. As the entire fluorescence of labeled Lp[a] co-localized with excess of LDL in cells, and taking into account the high tendency of LDL-Lp[a] association in solution and on cell surfaces, it is concluded that a significant portion of the internalized Lp[a] is taken up into the cells by the LDL receptor via LDL by a hitchhiking-like process.

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