Recent advances in physiological lipoprotein metabolism

Clin Chem Lab Med. 2014 Dec;52(12):1695-727. doi: 10.1515/cclm-2013-0358.


Research into lipoprotein metabolism has developed because understanding lipoprotein metabolism has important clinical indications. Lipoproteins are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Recent advances include the identification of factors in the synthesis and secretion of triglyceride rich lipoproteins, chylomicrons (CM) and very low density lipoproteins (VLDL). These included the identification of microsomal transfer protein, the cotranslational targeting of apoproteinB (apoB) for degradation regulated by the availability of lipids, and the characterization of transport vesicles transporting primordial apoB containing particles to the Golgi. The lipase maturation factor 1, glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored high density lipoprotein binding protein 1 and an angiopoietin-like protein play a role in lipoprotein lipase (LPL)-mediated hydrolysis of secreted CMs and VLDL so that the right amount of fatty acid is delivered to the right tissue at the right time. Expression of the low density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor is regulated at both transcriptional and post-transcriptional level. Proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) has a pivotal role in the degradation of LDL receptor. Plasma remnant lipoproteins bind to specific receptors in the liver, the LDL receptor, VLDL receptor and LDL receptor-like proteins prior to removal from the plasma. Reverse cholesterol transport occurs when lipid free apoAI recruits cholesterol and phospholipid to assemble high density lipoprotein (HDL) particles. The discovery of ABC transporters (ABCA1 and ABCG1) and scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-BI) provided further information on the biogenesis of HDL. In humans HDL-cholesterol can be returned to the liver either by direct uptake by SR-BI or through cholesteryl ester transfer protein exchange of cholesteryl ester for triglycerides in apoB lipoproteins, followed by hepatic uptake of apoB containing particles. Cholesterol content in cells is regulated by several transcription factors, including the liver X receptor and sterol regulatory element binding protein. This review summarizes recent advances in knowledge of the molecular mechanisms regulating lipoprotein metabolism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / metabolism
  • Apolipoproteins / biosynthesis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / pathology
  • Cholesterol Ester Transfer Proteins / metabolism
  • Chylomicrons / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins / metabolism*
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / biosynthesis
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL / biosynthesis
  • Phospholipid Transfer Proteins / metabolism
  • Receptors, Scavenger / metabolism


  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Apolipoproteins
  • Cholesterol Ester Transfer Proteins
  • Chylomicrons
  • Lipoproteins
  • Lipoproteins, HDL
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL
  • Phospholipid Transfer Proteins
  • Receptors, Scavenger