Identification of human plasma proteins as major clients for the extracellular chaperone clusterin

J Biol Chem. 2010 Feb 5;285(6):3532-3539. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.079566. Epub 2009 Dec 7.


Clusterin (CLU) is an extracellular chaperone that is likely to play an important role in protein folding quality control. This study identified three deposition disease-associated proteins as major plasma clients for clusterin by studying CLU-client complexes formed in response to physiologically relevant stress (shear stress, approximately 36 dynes/cm(2) at 37 degrees C). Analysis of plasma samples by size exclusion chromatography indicated that (i) relative to control plasma, stressed plasma contained proportionally more soluble protein species of high molecular weight, and (ii) high molecular weight species were far more abundant when proteins purified by anti-CLU immunoaffinity chromatography from stressed plasma were compared with those purified from control plasma. SDS-PAGE and Western blot analyses indicated that a variety of proteins co-purified with CLU from both stressed and control plasma; however, several proteins were uniquely present or much more abundant when plasma was stressed. These proteins were identified by mass spectrometry as ceruloplasmin, fibrinogen, and albumin. Immunodot blot analysis of size exclusion chromatography fractionated plasma suggested that CLU-client complexes generated in situ are very large and may reach >or=4 x 10(7) Da. Lastly, sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay detected complexes containing CLU and ceruloplasmin, fibrinogen, or albumin in stressed but not control plasma. We have previously proposed that CLU-client complexes serve as vehicles to dispose of damaged misfolded extracellular proteins in vivo via receptor-mediated endocytosis. A better understanding of these mechanisms is likely to ultimately lead to the identification of new therapies for extracellular protein deposition disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Proteins / chemistry
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Ceruloplasmin / metabolism
  • Chromatography, Affinity
  • Chromatography, Gel
  • Clusterin / metabolism*
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Extracellular Space / metabolism
  • Fibrinogen / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Molecular Chaperones / metabolism*
  • Molecular Weight
  • Protein Binding
  • Proteomics / methods
  • Serum Albumin / metabolism
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Temperature


  • Blood Proteins
  • Clusterin
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Serum Albumin
  • Fibrinogen
  • Ceruloplasmin