Hitch-hiking between cells on lipoprotein particles

Traffic. 2007 Apr;8(4):331-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0854.2006.00532.x. Epub 2007 Jan 30.


Cell surface proteins containing covalently linked lipids associate with specialized membrane domains. Morphogens like Hedgehog and Wnt use their lipid anchors to bind to lipoprotein particles and employ lipoproteins to travel through tissues. Removal of their lipid anchors or decreasing lipoprotein levels give rise to adverse Hedgehog and Wnt signaling. Some parasites can also transfer their glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored surface proteins to host lipoprotein particles. These antigen-loaded lipoproteins spread throughout the circulation, and probably hamper an adequate immune response by killing neutrophils. Together, these findings imply a widespread role for lipoproteins in intercellular transfer of lipid-anchored surface proteins, and may have various physiological consequences. Here, we discuss how lipid-modified proteins may be transferred to and from lipoproteins at the cellular level.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hedgehog Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins / physiology*
  • Particle Size
  • Protein Transport / physiology
  • Receptors, Lipoprotein / physiology
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism*


  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Lipoproteins
  • Receptors, Lipoprotein
  • Wnt Proteins