Background: Lipoprotein receptors from the low density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor family are multifunctional membrane proteins which can efficiently mediate endocytosis and thereby facilitate lipoprotein clearance from the plasma. The biggest member of this family, the LDL receptor-related protein 1 (LRP1), facilitates the hepatic uptake of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins (TRL) via interaction with apolipoprotein E (apoE). In contrast to the classical LDL degradation pathway, TRL disintegrate in peripheral endosomes, and core lipids and apoB are targeted along the endocytic pathway for lysosomal degradation. Notably, TRL-derived apoE remains within recycling endosomes and is then mobilized by high density lipoproteins (HDL) for re-secretion. The aim of this study is to investigate the involvement of LRP1 in the regulation of apoE recycling.
Principal findings: Immunofluorescence studies indicate the LRP1-dependent trapping of apoE in EEA1-positive endosomes in human hepatoma cells. This processing is distinct from other LRP1 ligands such as RAP which is efficiently targeted to lysosomal compartments. Upon stimulation of HDL-induced recycling, apoE is released from LRP1-positive endosomes but is targeted to another, distinct population of early endosomes that contain HDL, but not LRP1. For subsequent analysis of the recycling capacity, we expressed the full-length human LRP1 and used an RNA interference approach to manipulate the expression levels of LRP1. In support of LRP1 determining the intracellular fate of apoE, overexpression of LRP1 significantly stimulated HDL-induced apoE recycling. Vice versa LRP1 knockdown in HEK293 cells and primary hepatocytes strongly reduced the efficiency of HDL to stimulate apoE secretion.
Conclusion: We conclude that LRP1 enables apoE to accumulate in an early endosomal recycling compartment that serves as a pool for the intracellular formation and subsequent re-secretion of apoE-enriched HDL particles.