Apolipoprotein (apo) E is a multifunctional protein with central roles in lipid metabolism, neurobiology, and neurodegenerative diseases. It has three major isoforms (apoE2, apoE3, and apoE4) with different effects on lipid and neuronal homeostasis. A major function of apoE is to mediate the binding of lipoproteins or lipid complexes in the plasma or interstitial fluids to specific cell-surface receptors. These receptors internalize apoE-containing lipoprotein particles; thus, apoE participates in the distribution/redistribution of lipids among various tissues and cells of the body. In addition, intracellular apoE may modulate various cellular processes physiologically or pathophysiologically, including cytoskeletal assembly and stability, mitochondrial integrity and function, and dendritic morphology and function. Elucidation of the functional domains within this protein and of the three-dimensional structure of the major isoforms of apoE has contributed significantly to our understanding of its physiological and pathophysiological roles at a molecular level. It is likely that apoE, with its multiple cellular origins and multiple structural and biophysical properties, is involved widely in processes of lipid metabolism and neurobiology, possibly encompassing a variety of disorders of neuronal repair, remodeling, and degeneration by interacting with different factors through various pathways.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; ApoE; Lipid metabolism; Mouse model.
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