Recent progress in understanding apolipoprotein B.
For the past 5 years, investigators from many different laboratories have contributed to a greatly increased understanding of two very important lipid-carrying proteins in plasma--apo B-100 and apo B-48. Apo B-100, an extremely large protein composed of 4,536 amino acids, is synthesized by the liver and is crucial for the assembly of triglyceride-rich VLDL particles. Apo B-100 is virtually the only protein of LDL, a cholesteryl ester-enriched class of lipoproteins that are metabolic products of VLDL. The apo B-100 of LDL serves as a ligand for the LDL receptor-mediated uptake of LDL particles by the liver and extrahepatic tissues. The LDL receptor-binding region of apo B-100 is located in the carboxyterminal portion of the molecule, whereas its lipid-binding regions appear to be broadly dispersed throughout its length. Apo B-48 contains the amino-terminal 2,152 amino acids of apo B-100 and is produced by the intestine as a result of editing of a single nucleotide of the apo B mRNA, which changes the codon specifying apo B-100 amino acid 2,153 to a premature stop codon. Apo B-48 has an obligatory structural role in the formation of chylomicrons; therefore, its synthesis is essential for absorption of dietary fats and fat-soluble vitamins. Both apo B-48 and apo B-100 are encoded on chromosome 2 by a single gene that contains 29 exons and 28 introns. An elevated level of apo B-100 in the plasma is a potent risk factor for developing premature atherosclerotic disease. In the past 3 years, many different apo B gene mutations that affect the concentrations of both apo B and cholesterol in the plasma have been characterized. A missense mutation in the codon for apo B-100 amino aid 3,500 is associated with hypercholesterolemia. This mutation results in poor binding of apo B-100 to the LDL receptor, thereby causing the cholesteryl ester-enriched LDL particles to accumulate in the plasma. This disorder is called familial defective apo B-100, and it is probably a cause of premature atherosclerotic disease. Familial hypobetalipoproteinemia is a condition associated with abnormally low levels of apo B and cholesterol; affected individuals may actually have a reduced risk of atherosclerotic disease.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association