A polymorphism affecting apolipoprotein A-II translational efficiency determines high density lipoprotein size and composition

Mark H. Doolittle, Renee C. LeBoeuf, Craig H Warden, Lisa M. Bee, Aldons J. Lusis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


High density lipoproteins (HDL) are heterogeneous particles consisting of about equal amounts of lipid and protein that are thought to mediate the transport of cholesterol from peripheral tissues to liver. We show that a previously identified polymorphism affecting HDL electrophoretic mobility in mice is due to a monogenic variation controlling HDL size and apolipoprotein composition. Thus, the HDL particles of various inbred strains of mice exhibit a striking difference in the ratio of the two major apolipoproteins of HDL, apoA-I and apoA-II. HDL particles in all strains examined contain an average of about five apoA-I molecules; however, whereas the strains with small HDL contain two to three apoA-II molecules per particle, the strains with large HDL contain about five apoA-II molecules per particle. This increase in the protein content of the large HDL is also accompanied by increased lipid content. The HDL size polymorphism and apoA-II levels cosegregate with the apoA-II structural gene on mouse chromosome 1, indicating that a mutation of the apoA-II gene locus is responsible. The rates of synthesis of apoA-II are increased in the strains with large HDL and high apoA-II levels as compared to the strains with small HDL and low apoA-II levels. On the other hand, the fractional catabolic rates of both apoA-I and apoA-II among the strains are very similar, confirming that apoA-II concentrations are controlled at the level of synthesis. Despite the difference in rates of apoA-II synthesis between strains, the apoA-II mRNA levels in the strains are not discernibly different, suggesting that a mutation of the apoA-II structural gene controls apoA-II translational efficiency. This was confirmed by translating apoA-II mRNA in vitro using a rabbit reticulocyte lysate system. Sequencing of apoA-II cDNA from the strains revealed a number of nucleotide substitutions, which may affect translational efficiency. We conclude that the assembly of apoA-II into HDL does not have a set stoichiometry but, rather, is controlled by the production of apoA-II. As apoA-II levels increase, the HDL particles become larger and acquire more lipid, but apoA-I content per particle remains unchanged. These studies with mice provide a model for the metabolic relationships between apoA-I, apoA-II, and HDL lipid in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16380-16388
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number27
StatePublished - Sep 25 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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