Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) is an abundant plasma protein that interacts with low density lipoprotein receptors and other proteins, participating in the transport of cholesterol and lipids. Research has revealed many other roles for this multifunctional protein. ApoE is polymorphic and exists in three major isoforms: ApoE2, ApoE3 (the most common isoform) and ApoE4, which differ by only one amino acid, at positions 112 and 158. The altered binding to lipids and receptors by ApoE isoforms E2 and E4 results in an elevated risk for neurological, cerebrovascular and cardiovascular pathologies. Most notably, ApoE4 is associated with an elevated risk (relative to E3) for Alzheimer's disease. The application of mass spectrometry for genotyping and also direct measurement of ApoE protein isoforms is a recent development and is well suited to high-throughput applications. The precise quantification of protein isoforms will allow better characterization of effects resulting from heterozygous APOE genotypes.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; apolipoprotein E; cardiovascular disease; mass spectrometry; stroke.