Although binding of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) to a variety of cells in culture has been widely reported, the mechanism of this binding has yet to be fully elucidated. The aim of the current studies was to explore the roles of apoproteins (apo) AI and AII in HDL3 binding to membranes derived from bovine aortic endothelial cells. Binding studies showed that HDL3 (which contains both apo AI and apo AII) and AII-HDL3 (which contain only apo AII) bound to membranes with similar affinity (44 +/- 6 and 41 +/- 9 micrograms/ml respectively) and capacity (673 +/- 97 and 969 +/- 101 ng bound/mg of membrane protein respectively). In contrast with these results, HDL3 [AI w/o AII] (which contain apo AI, but not apo AII) bound to the membranes with a significantly higher capacity (2228 +/- 206 ng bound/mg of membrane protein) and lower affinity (65 +/- 3 micrograms/ml) as compared with HDL3 or AII-HDL3. Therefore, although both apo AI and apo AII appear capable of facilitating HDL3 binding, the mechanisms involved probably differ. A model which fits the data postulates that a common receptor exists which binds both apo AI and apo AII, and that a particle containing AII can occupy up to four receptors (partly owing to each AII molecule containing two binding domains), whereas an HDL3 [AI w/o AII] particle can occupy only one.

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