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J Biol Chem. 2000 Oct 20;275(42):32807-15.

A targeted apolipoprotein B-38.9-producing mutation causes fatty livers in mice due to the reduced ability of apolipoprotein B-38.9 to transport triglycerides.

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Division of Atherosclerosis, Nutrition and Lipid Research, Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


Nonphysiological truncations of apolipoprotein (apo) B-100 cause familial hypobetalipoproteinemia (FHBL) in humans and mice. An elucidation of the mechanisms underlying the FHBL phenotypes may provide valuable information on the metabolism of apo B-containing lipoproteins and the structure-function relationship of apo B. To generate a faithful mouse model of human FHBL, a subtle mutation was introduced into the mouse apo B gene by targeting embryonic stem cells using homologous recombination followed by removal of the selection marker gene by Cre-loxP-mediated site-specific recombination. The engineered mice bear a premature stop codon at residue 1767 and a 42-base pair loxP inserted into intron 24 of the apo B gene, thus closely resembling the apo B-38.9-producing mutation in humans. Apo B-38.9 was the sole apo B protein in homozygote (apob(38.9/38.9)) plasma. In heterozygotes (apob(+/)(38. 9)), apo B-100 and apo B-48 were reduced by 75 and 40%, respectively, and apo B-38.9 represented 20% of total circulating apo B. Hepatic apo B-38.9 mRNA levels were reduced by 40%. In cultured apob(+/)(38. 9) hepatocytes, apo B-100 was produced in trace quantities, and the synthesis rate of apo B-38.9 relative to apo B-48 was reduced by 40%. However, almost equimolar amounts of apo B-38.9 and apo B-48 were secreted into the media. Pulse-chase studies revealed that apo B-38. 9 was secreted at a faster rate and more efficiently than apoB-48. Nevertheless, both apob(+/)(38.9) and apob(38.9/38.9) mice had reduced hepatic triglyceride secretion rates and fatty livers. Thus, low mRNA levels or defective secretion of apo B-38.9 may not be responsible for the FHBL phenotypes caused by the apo B-38.9 mutation. Rather, a reduced capacity of apo B-38.9 for triglyceride transport may account for the fatty livers in these mice.

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