To study the interaction between low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and granules from rat serosal mast cells in vitro, mast cells were stimulated with the degranulating agent 48/80 to induce exocytosis of the secretory granules. Subsequent incubation of the exocytosed granules with 125I-LDL resulted in binding of the labelled LDL to the granules. When increasing amounts of agent 48/80 were added to mast-cell suspensions, a dose-dependent release of granules was observed and a parallel increase in the amount of 125I-LDL bound to granules resulted. 125I-LDL bound to a single class of high-affinity binding sites on the granules. At saturation, 105 ng of LDL were bound per microgram of granule protein. The lipoprotein binding to mast-cell granules was apolipoprotein(apo)-B + E-specific. Thus 125I-LDL binding to the granules was effectively compared for by LDL (apo-B) or by dimyristoyl phosphatidylcholine vesicles containing apo-E, but not by high-density lipoprotein (HDL3) containing apo-AI as their major protein component. Neutralization by acetylation of the positively charged amino groups of apo-B of LDL or presence of a high ionic strength in the incubation medium prevented LDL from binding to the granules, indicating the presence of ionic interactions between the positively charged amino acids of LDL and negatively charged groups of the granules. It could be demonstrated that LDL bound to the negatively charged heparin proteoglycan of the granules. Thus treatment of granules with heparinase resulted in loss of their ability to bind LDL, and substances known to bind to heparin, such as Toluidine Blue, avidin, lipoprotein lipase, fibronectin and protamine, all effectively competed with LDL for binding to the granules. The results show that LDL is efficiently bound to the heparin proteoglycan component of mast-cell granules once the mast cells are stimulated to release their granules into the extracellular space.

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