Studies of the sites of intracellular degradation of apolipoprotein B in Hep G2 cells

S. Furukawa, N. Sakata, H. N. Ginsberg, J. L. Dixon

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We previously reported that treatment of Hep G2 cells with oleate significantly increased apolipoprotein B (apoB) secretion by reducing early intracellular degradation of nascent apoB. In the current study, inhibitors of secretory protein transport (brefeldin A and monensin), cell fractionation studies, and protease protection assays were utilized to determine the location of apoB degradation and to better define the mechanism whereby oleate treatment reduces nascent apoB intracellular degradation. When cells were treated with brefeldin A, which blocks endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to Golgi protein transport, apoB degradation continued in control cells, suggesting that apoB is degraded in the ER. When oleate-treated cells were blocked with brefeldin A, oleate failed to protect apoB from intracellular degradation. The effects of brefeldin A were not due to effects on lipid synthesis as brefeldin A did not inhibit the synthesis of triglyceride, phospholipid, free cholesterol, or cholesteryl ester in control cells and did not prevent the increases in triglyceride (14-fold) and phospholipid (1.4- fold) synthesis seen in oleate-treated cells. Simultaneous treatment of cells with brefeldin A and nocodazole, which inhibits retrograde transport of proteins from Golgi to ER, added to the evidence for the ER as the site of apoB degradation. This conclusion received further support from experiments in which cells were treated with monensin, a Na+ ionophore which halts protein secretion at the level of the trans-Golgi network. Early degradation of nascent apoB (between 10 and 20 min of chase) was observed in monensin- treated cells, but then cellular apoB degradation ceased and apoB was stable during the remaining chase period. More apoB accumulated in the Golgi of cells that had been treated with oleate and monensin. These results suggest that ER degradation occurs in monensin-treated cells, but then stops as apoB is transferred to the Golgi. The results obtained in whole cells were confirmed in studies using isolated ER and Golgi, which indicated that ER contains a proteolytic activity which degrades apoB, in vitro, whereas Golgi does not. ApoB degradation in isolated ER was not reduced by pretreatment with oleate. Finally, protease protection assays carried out with isolated microsomes indicated that a majority of the apoB in both control or oleate- treated HepG2 cells was located on the cytosolic side of the membranes. Taken together, these results indicate that the rapid intracellular degradation of nascent apoB in HepG2 occurs in the ER, and suggest that the oleate treatment may prevent the interaction of an ER-associated protease with apoB during a vulnerable time period as the nascent protein associates with lipid and moves to the Golgi.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22630-22638
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number31
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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