1. Apolipoprotein B-48, the transport protein for chylomicrons, is identical with apolipoprotein B-100 for the first 48% of its sequence. No antiserum has yet been reported that can recognize apolipoprotein B-48, but not apolipoprotein B-100.
2. In the present study an antiserum was raised to the C-terminal sequence of apolipoprotein B-48, using specific chemical reactions to ensure that the charged carboxyl group of the C-terminal isoleucine residue was free. In a Western blot the antiserum was shown to bind to a protein band having the characteristics of apolipoprotein B-48, but not to apolipoprotein B-100.
3. In the early evening 11 subjects were given a test meal which contained 40 g of mixed oil and retinyl palmitate. Blood samples were collected over 9 h. Chylomicron-enriched fractions were prepared and analysed for triacylglycerol, retinyl palmitate and apolipoprotein B-48, the latter after separation using SDS/PAGE and visualization by chemiluminescence on a Western blot. Both triacylglycerol and apolipoprotein B-48 showed an early peak at 1 h, which was not seen with retinyl palmitate. All three substances gave a broader peak between 5 and 6 h post-prandially. Retinyl palmitate concentrations declined rapidly during the late (6-9 h) postprandial period, but apolipoprotein B-48 concentrations remained elevated.
4. This study has shown that an antiserum has been produced which is specific for apolipoprotein B-48. This has enabled measurement of postprandial concentrations of the protein that revealed features of chylomicron metabolism which have not been reported previously.