Plasma lipid transport in the hedgehog: Partial characterization of structure and function of apolipoprotein A-I

D. A. Sparrow, P. M. Laplaud, M. Saboureau, G. Zhou, P. J. Dolphin, A. M. Gotto, J. T. Sparrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Apart from exhibiting the presence of lipoprotein [a] in its plasma, another interest of the European hedgehog in lipoprotein research lies in the quantitative prominence of a complex spectrum of high density lipoproteins (HDL) and very high density lipoproteins (VHDL) as cholesterol transporters in plasma (Laplaud, P. M. et al. 1989. Biochim. Biophys. Acts 1005: 143- 156). We, therefore, initiated studies in the field of reverse cholesterol transport in the hedgehog. As a first step, we characterized apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I), the main protein component of hedgehog HDL and VHDL. Proteolytic cleavage of apoA-I (M, approx. 27 kDa) using two different enzymes resulted in two sets of peptides that were subsequently purified by high performance liquid chromatography, and that allowed us determination of the complete protein sequence. Hedgehog apo-I thus consists of 241 amino acid residues and exhibits an overall 58% homology to its human counterpart, i.e., the lowest value observed to date among mammalian species. However, it retained the general organization common to all known apoA-Is, i.e., a series of amphipathic helical segments punctuated by proline residues. Circular dichroism experiments indicated a helical content of approx. 45%, increasing to approx. 58% in the presence of lecithin unilamellar liposomes. Apart from other differences, amino acid composition analysis shows that hedgehog apoA- I contains four isoleucine residues, while this amino acid is totally absent from the corresponding protein in higher mammals. Polyclonal antibodies raised against hedgehog apoA-I failed to detect any cross reactivity between the animal and human proteins, although comparative prediction of the respective antigenic structures using the Hopp-Woods algorithm indicated that several potentially antigenic sites may occur in similar regions of the protein. Finally, hedgehog apoA-I was shown to be able to activate lecithin:cholesterol acyl transferase, although it was 4 to 5 times less efficient in this respect than the human protein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)485-495
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of lipid research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1995


  • amino acid sequence
  • circular dichroism
  • high density lipoproteins
  • lecithin:cholesterol acyl transferase
  • phylogeny
  • preparative electrophoresis
  • reverse cholesterol transport
  • very high density lipoproteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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