Differences in recycling of apolipoprotein e3 and e4—ldl receptor complexes—a mechanistic hypothesis

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3 Scopus citations


Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) is a protein that plays an important role in the transport of fatty acids and cholesterol and in cellular signaling. On the surface of the cells, ApoE lipoparticles bind to low density lipoprotein receptors (LDLR) that mediate the uptake of the lipids and downstream signaling events. There are three alleles of the human ApoE gene. Presence of ApoE4 allele is a major risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other disorders late in life, but the mechanisms responsible for biological differences between different ApoE isoforms are not well understood. We here propose that the differences between ApoE isoforms can be explained by differences in the pH-dependence of the association between ApoE3 and ApoE4 isoforms and LDL-A repeats of LDLR. As a result, the following endocytosis ApoE3-associated LDLRs are recycled back to the plasma membrane but ApoE4-containing LDLR complexes are trapped in late endosomes and targeted for degradation. The proposed mechanism is predicted to lead to a reduction in steady-state surface levels of LDLRs and impaired cellular signaling in ApoE4-expressing cells. We hope that this proposal will stimulate experimental research in this direction that allows the testing of our hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5030
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2021


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • ApoE
  • Charged interaction
  • Endosome
  • LDL receptor
  • Modelling
  • Protonation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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