Proteolysis and fusion of low density lipoprotein particles strengthen their binding to human aortic proteoglycans

Katariina Paananen, Juhani Saarinen, Arto Annila, Petri T. Kovanen (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Lipid droplets resembling those seen in the extracellular space of the arterial intima were generated in vitro when granule proteases of rat serosal mast cells degraded the apolipoprotein B-100 (apoB-100) component of granule-bound low density lipoprotein (LDL), and the particles fused on the granule surface (Paananen, K., and Kovanen, P. T.(1994) J. Biol. Chem. 269, 2023-2031).
Moreover, the binding of the fused particles to the heparin proteoglycan component of the granules was found to be strengthened. We have now treated LDL particles with α-chymotrypsin and examined the strength with which the proteolytically modified LDL binds to human aortic proteoglycans on an affinity column. We found that chymotryptic degradation of the LDL particles triggered particle fusion. The higher the degree of proteolytic degradation, the higher were the degree of fusion and the strength of binding to the aortic proteoglycans. Separation of the proteolyzed particles by size exclusion chromatography into two fractions, unfused and fused particles, and analysis of their binding strengths revealed that not only the fused but also the unfused proteolyzed particles bound more tightly to the proteoglycans than did the native LDL particles. To investigate the mechanism underlying this increase in binding strength, we attached [GraphicC]dimethyl groups to the lysines and used NMR spectroscopy to quantify the active lysine residues of apoB-100, which are thought to be located in basic areas of apoB-100 and involved in binding of LDL to proteoglycans. Analysis of the GraphicC-labeled particles showed that, despite loss of apoB-100 fragments from the particles, the number of active lysine residues in the unfused proteolyzed particles had not decreased. In the fused proteolyzed particles, the number of active lysine residues was markedly increased. Thus, proteolytic fusion appears to increase the number of basic domains of apoB-100, which would explain the observed increase in the strength of binding of the modified LDL particles to arterial proteoglycans.
Since the fused particles resemble the small lipid droplets found in the atherosclerotic arterial intima, this LDL modification offers a plausible mechanism for the focal accumulation of lipid droplets in the extracellular proteoglycan matrix during atherogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12257-12262
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 1995
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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