Clusterin/apolipoprotein J in human aging and cancer

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2002 Nov;34(11):1430-48. doi: 10.1016/s1357-2725(02)00041-9.


Clusterin/Apolipoprotein J (ApoJ) is a heterodimeric highly conserved secreted glycoprotein being expressed in a wide variety of tissues and found in all human fluids. Despite being cloned since 1989, no genuine function has been attributed to ApoJ so far. The protein has been reportedly implicated in several diverse physiological processes such as sperm maturation, lipid transportation, complement inhibition, tissue remodeling, membrane recycling, cell-cell and cell-substratum interactions, stabilization of stressed proteins in a folding-competent state and promotion or inhibition of apoptosis. ApoJ gene is differentially regulated by cytokines, growth factors and stress-inducing agents, while another defining prominent and intriguing ApoJ feature is its upregulation in many severe physiological disturbances states and in several neurodegenerative conditions mostly related to advanced aging. Moreover, ApoJ accumulates during the viable growth arrested cellular state of senescence, that is thought to contribute to aging and to tumorigenesis suppression; paradoxically ApoJ is also upregulated in several cases of in vivo cancer progression and tumor formation. This review focuses on the reported data related to ApoJ cell-type and signal specific regulation, function and site of action in normal and cancer cells. We discuss the role of ApoJ during cellular senescence and tumorigenesis, especially under the light of the recently demonstrated various ApoJ intracellular protein forms and their interaction with molecules involved in signal transduction and DNA repair, raising the possibility that its overexpression during cellular senescence might cause a predisposition to cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Cellular Senescence
  • Clusterin
  • Glycoproteins* / chemistry
  • Glycoproteins* / genetics
  • Glycoproteins* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Chaperones* / chemistry
  • Molecular Chaperones* / genetics
  • Molecular Chaperones* / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Biomarkers
  • CLU protein, human
  • Clusterin
  • Glycoproteins
  • Ligands
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Neoplasm Proteins