Apolipoprotein (apo) B-100 is an essential component of atherogenic plasma lipoproteins. Previous studies have demonstrated that the production of apoB-100 is regulated largely by intracellular degradation at both the co-translational and post-translational levels and that proteasome-mediated and non-proteasome-mediated pathways are involved in this process. ApoB-100 is a glycoprotein. The present study was undertaken to address the question of whether the inhibition of N-linked glycosylation with tunicamycin would interfere with apoB-100 production. We demonstrated that the treatment of HepG2 cells with tunicamycin decreased the net production of apoB-100 by enhancing co-translational degradation of the protein. This effect of tunicamycin was partly prevented by lactacystin, a specific proteasome inhibitor. Because lactacystin only partly reversed the effects of tunicamycin on apoB biogenesis, tunicamycin seemed also to induce apoB co-translational degradation in HepG2 cells by one or more non-proteasomal pathways. Furthermore, tunicamycin increased apoB ubiquitination approx. 4-fold. The proportion of the newly synthesized apoB-100 that was secreted and incorporated into the nascent lipoprotein particles was unaffected by tunicamycin. Thus the tunicamycin-mediated inhibition of N-linked glycosylation interferes with the production of apoB-100 that is mediated by both proteasomal and non-proteasomal pathways.
Endotoxin induces hyperlipidaemia in experimental animals. In the current study, we investigated whether endotoxin alters hepatic low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor expression in rats. Endotoxin treatment suppressed hepatic LDL receptor expression in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Eighteen hours after intraperitoneal injection of increasing amounts of endotoxin, LDL receptor and its mRNA levels were determined by ligand blot and solution hybridization respectively. LDL receptor expression was inhibited by about 70% at a dose of 500 μg/100 g body weight. However, LDL receptor mRNA levels were markedly increased in all endotoxin-treated groups at this time point (by 83–136%; P < 0.001). Time-course experiments showed that LDL receptor expression was already reduced by 48% 4 h after endotoxin injection and was maximally reduced (by 63–65%) between 8 and 18 h. Changes in hepatic LDL receptor mRNA showed a different pattern. By 4 h after endotoxin injection, LDL receptor mRNA had decreased by 78% ( P < 0.001). However, by 8 h after endotoxin injection, LDL receptor mRNA had returned to levels similar to controls, and 18 and 24 h after endotoxin injection, they were increased by about 60% ( P < 0.05). Separation of plasma lipoproteins by FPLC demonstrated that endotoxin-induced changes in plasma triacylglycerols and cholesterol were due to accumulation of plasma apolipoprotein B-containing lipoproteins among very-low-density lipoprotein, intermediate-density lipoprotein and LDL. It is concluded that endotoxin suppresses hepatic LDL receptor expression in vivo in rats.