A variant primary structure of apolipoprotein C-II in individuals of African descent

J Clin Invest. 1986 Feb;77(2):595-601. doi: 10.1172/JCI112342.


We have isolated an isoform of the protein activator of lipoprotein lipase, apolipoprotein C-II, from the very low density lipoproteins of four patients of African ancestry with hypertriglyceridemia and eruptive or pedunculated xanthomata. This protein, which we designate apolipoprotein C-II2, differs from the previously recognized species, which we denote apolipoprotein C-II1, by substitution of glutamine for lysine at residue 55, a mutation which would require only a single-base substitution in the structural gene for apolipoprotein C-II1. Each of the patients in whom apolipoprotein C-II2 was found had approximately equal amounts of apolipoprotein C-II1 and apolipoprotein C-II2 among the apoproteins of the very low density lipoproteins, suggesting that the structural genes for these proteins are allelic. Two additional apparent heterozygotes were found among the first-degree relatives of each of two of the patients in patterns compatible with monogenic autosomal transmission. Approximately equal amounts of apolipoproteins C-II2 and C-II1 were also found by isoelectric focusing in 6 of a casual series of 50 normolipidemic blacks, but none or only trace amounts of apolipoprotein C-II2 were found in 500 samples from Caucasian subjects with hyperlipidemia. These findings suggest that this polymorphism is distributed primarily among blacks, possibly reflecting some positive Darwinian selection pressure. Whether this polymorphism has a modifying effect upon the development of hyperlipemia remains to be determined.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Africa / ethnology
  • Aged
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Apolipoprotein C-II
  • Apolipoproteins C / blood
  • Apolipoproteins C / genetics*
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics
  • Black People*
  • Cyanogen Bromide
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / blood
  • Hyperlipidemias / genetics*
  • Isoelectric Focusing
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Phenotype
  • Trypsin


  • Apolipoprotein C-II
  • Apolipoproteins C
  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Trypsin
  • Cyanogen Bromide