Journal Article

Evidence for effect of mutant PCSK9 on apolipoprotein B secretion as the cause of unusually severe dominant hypercholesterolaemia

Xi-Ming Sun, Emily R. Eden, Isabella Tosi, Clare K. Neuwirth, David Wile, Rossi P. Naoumova and Anne K. Soutar

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 14, issue 9, pages 1161-1169
Published in print May 2005 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online March 2005 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddi128
Evidence for effect of mutant PCSK9 on apolipoprotein B secretion as the cause of unusually severe dominant hypercholesterolaemia

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Typically, autosomal dominant familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) is caused by mutations in the low density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor or apolipoprotein B genes that result in defective clearance of plasma LDL by the liver, but a third gene (PCSK9), encoding a putative proprotein convertase, has recently been implicated. Two independent microarray studies support a role for PCSK9 in sterol metabolism and adenoviral-mediated over-expression of PCSK9 in mouse liver depletes hepatic LDL-receptor protein, but the mechanism by which dominant mutations cause human FH is unclear. We have identified the D374Y mutant of PCSK9 in three FH families of English origin; all 12 affected individuals have unusually severe hypercholesterolaemia and require more stringent treatment than typical FH patients, who are heterozygous for defects in the LDL receptor. We have stably expressed wild-type (WT) and variant PCSK9 in McArdle-7777 rat hepatoma cells and shown by confocal microscopy that all forms of PCSK9 co-localize with protein disulphide isomerase in the ER whether or not they can be autocleaved. Expression of the proposed pathogenic variants, but not of WT, S386A or F216L PCSK9, increases secretion of apolipoprotein B100-containing lipoproteins from the cells by 2–4-fold probably by reducing the degradation of nascent protein; no differences in LDL-receptor content were observed in cells expressing WT, S386A or F216L PCSK9 and only a small reduction in cells expressing the D374Y or S127R mutants. This suggests that the variants of PCSK9 found in FH influence the secretion of apoB-containing lipoproteins, providing an explanation for the marked increase in circulating LDL in heterozygous carriers.

Journal Article.  6864 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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