Human apolipoprotein A-I forms thermally stable complexes with anionic but not with zwitterionic phospholipids.
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The mechanism of the association of human plasma apolipoprotein A-I (apo A-I) with the acidic phospholipids, dimyristoylphosphatidylglycerol (DMPG), egg yolk phosphatidylglycerol, and dioleoylphosphatidylserine as well as with the zwitterionic dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC) has been studied using turbidimetry, circular dichroism, high-sensitivity differential scanning calorimetry, and electron microscopy. The association of apo A-I with multilamellar liposomes of acidic phospholipids is rapid over a broad temperature range at and above the temperature of the lipid gel to liquid crystalline transition, Tc. This is in contrast to zwitterionic phosphatidylcholine which recombines with apo A-I only over a narrow temperature range around Tc. The complex of apo A-I with DMPC denatures at elevated temperatures giving rise to a calorimetrically detectable transition. The temperature range and width of this transition is shown to be markedly dependent on the heating rate. This is again in contrast to apo A-I recombinants with DMPG which show no calorimetrically detectable thermal denaturation, at least in a temperature range up to 100 degrees C. Also circular dichroism data indicate high resistance of apo A-I to thermal unfolding in the presence of DMPG. It is concluded that the complexes of apo A-I with DMPC are thermodynamically stable only at temperatures near Tc, whereas above and below this temperature range the stability of these recombinants is determined by kinetic factors. In contrast, complexes of apo A-I with DMPG and other acidic phospholipids may be thermodynamically stable over a wide temperature range greater than or equal to Tc. In spite of these fundamental differences between zwitterionic and acidic phospholipids in their mode of association with apo A-I, the binding affinity and the morphology of the recombinants are similar. Both apo A-I X DMPC and apo A-I X DMPG complexes form lipoprotein particles having a discoidal shape.
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