Lipoprotein lipase-unstable on purpose?
Abstract: Lipoprotein lipase (LPL) is a central enzyme in lipid metabolism. It is a non-covalent, homodimeric and N-glycosylated protein, which is regulated in a tissue-specific manner and is dependent on an activator protein, apolipoprotein CII. Dissociation of active LPL dimers to monomers leads to loss of activity. This was previously found to be an important event in the rapid regulation of LPL in tissues. The mechanisms involved in the processing of LPL to active dimers, as well as in LPL inactivation through monomerization, were unknown. We have investigated the folding properties of the LPL protein, in particular the requirements for LPL to attain its active quaternary structure and to remain in the native conformation.On expression of LPL in insect cells we found that most of the LPL protein was synthesized in an inactive monomeric form. By co-expression of LPL with human molecular haperones, especially with calreticulin (CRT), the activity of LPL increased greatly, both in the cells and in the media. The effect of CRT on LPL activity was not due to increased levels of the LPL protein, but was due to an increased proportion of active dimeric LPL. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments showed direct interaction between LPL and CRT supporting the idea that this ER-based molecular chaperone supports the formation of active LPL dimers.We showed that, bis-ANS, the aromatic hydrophobic probe 1,1.-bis(aniline)-4,4.- bis(naphthalene)-8,8.disulfonate, can be used to obtain specific information about the interaction of LPL with lipid substrates and with apoCII. Bis-Ans was found to be a potent inhibitor of LPL activity, but apoCII prevented the inhibition. Our results suggest that bis-Ans binds to three exposed hydrophobic sites, of which one is at or close to the binding site(s) for apoCII.In studies of the mechanisms responsible for the spontaneous inactivation of LPL, we showed that active LPL is a dynamic dimer in which the subunits rapidly exchange partners. The rapid equilibrium between dimers and monomers exists even under conditions where LPL is relatively stable. This supports the idea that the dimer is in equilibrium with dimerization-competent, possibly active monomers. This dimerization-competent intermediate was also implicated in studies of the inactivation kinetics. The inactive LPL monomer was found to have a stable, defined conformation irrespective of how it was formed. The main differences in conformation between the inactive monomer and the active dimer were located in the middle part of the LPL subunit. Experiments with bis-Ans demonstrated that more hydrophobic regions were exposed in the inactive monomer, indicating a molten globule conformation. We concluded that the middle part of the LPL subunit is most likely engaged in the formation of the active LPL dimer.The dimerization-competent LPL monomer is a hypothetical conformational state, because it has not been possible to isolate it. To study complete refolding of LPL we used fully denatured LPL and were able to demonstrate that the recovery of LPL activity was about 40% when the denaturant was diluted by a buffer containing 20% human serum and 2M NaCl. Further studies identified calcium as the component in serum that was crucial for the reactivation of LPL. The refolding of LPL was shown to involve at least two steps, of which the first one was rapid and resulted in folded, but inactive monomers. The second step, from inactive monomers to active dimers, was slow and calcium-dependent. Also inactive monomers isolated from human tissue were able to recover activity under the influence of calcium. We proposed that calcium-dependent control of LPL dimerization might be involved in the normal post-translational regulation of LPL activity.In conclusion, LPL is a relatively unstable enzyme under physiological conditions due to its noncovalent dimeric structure. The energy barrier for folding to the active dimer is high and requires the presence of calcium ions and molecular chaperones to be overcome. The dimeric arrangement is probably essential to accomplish rapid down-regulation of LPL activity according to metabolic demand, e.g. in adipose tissue on fasting.
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