Apolipoproteins A-I, A-II and E are independently distributed among intracellular and newly secreted HDL of human hepatoma cells

Baiba K. Gillard, Hu Yu Alice Lin, John B. Massey, Henry J. Pownall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Whereas hepatocytes secrete the major human plasma high density lipoproteins (HDL)-protein, apo A-I, as lipid-free and lipidated species, the biogenic itineraries of apo A-II and apo E are unknown. Human plasma and HepG2 cell-derived apo A-II and apo E occur as monomers, homodimers and heterodimers. Dimerization of apo A-II, which is more lipophilic than apo A-I, is catalyzed by lipid surfaces. Thus, we hypothesized that lipidation of intracellular and secreted apo A-II exceeds that of apo A-I, and once lipidated, apo A-II dimerizes. Fractionation of HepG2 cell lysate and media by size exclusion chromatography showed that intracellular apo A-II and apo E are fully lipidated and occur on nascent HDL and VLDL respectively, while only 45% of intracellular apo A-I is lipidated. Secreted apo A-II and apo E occur on small HDL and on LDL and large HDL respectively. HDL particles containing both apo A-II and apo A-I form only after secretion from both HepG2 and Huh7 hepatoma cells. Apo A-II dimerizes intracellularly while intracellular apo E is monomeric but after secretion associates with HDL and subsequently dimerizes. Thus, HDL apolipoproteins A-I, A-II and E have distinct intracellular and post-secretory pathways of hepatic lipidation and dimerization in the process of HDL formation. These early forms of HDL are expected to follow different apolipoprotein-specific pathways through plasma remodeling and reverse cholesterol transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1125-1132
Number of pages8
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2009


  • apo A-I
  • apo A-II
  • apo E
  • HDL formation
  • HepG2
  • Huh7

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Apolipoproteins A-I, A-II and E are independently distributed among intracellular and newly secreted HDL of human hepatoma cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this