Receptor-dependent uptake mechanisms for low-density lipoprotein (LDL) were studied in rabbit liver parenchymal and non-parenchymal cells. Hybridization studies with a cDNA probe revealed that mRNA for the apo (apolipoprotein) B,E receptor was present in endothelial and Kupffer cells as well as in parenchymal cells. By ligand-blotting experiments we showed that apo B,E-receptor protein was present in both parenchymal and non-parenchymal cells. Studies of binding of homologous LDL in cultured rabbit parenchymal cells suggested that about 63% of the specific LDL binding was mediated via the apo B,E receptor. Approx. 47% of the specific LDL binding was dependent on Ca2+, suggesting that specific Ca2+-dependent as well as Ca2+-independent LDL-binding sites exist in liver parenchymal cells. Methylated LDL bound to the parenchymal cells in a saturable manner. Taken together, our results showed that apo B,E receptors are present in rabbit liver endothelial and Kupffer cells as well as in the parenchymal cells, and that an additional saturable binding activity for LDL may exist on rabbit liver parenchymal cells. This binding activity was not inhibited by EGTA or reductive methylation of lysine residues in apo B. LDL degradation in parenchymal cells was mainly mediated via the apo B,E receptor.

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