Heterogeneous lipoprotein (a) size isoforms differ by their interaction with the low-density-lipoprotein receptor and the low-density-lipoprotein receptor-related protein alpha(2)-macroglobulin receptor
Lipoprotein (a) (Lp(a)) is a complex of low density lipoprotein (LDL) with apolipoprotein (apo) (a). To examine the size distribution of Lp(a), plasma was separated by fast flow gel filtration and Lp(a):B complexes were determined in the eluate by enzyme immunoassays, in which detection was performed with monoclonal antibodies specific for apoB. Lp(a):B particles displayed apparent molecular masses (M(r)) of 2 x 10(6) to at least 10 x 10(6). Lp(a) size isoforms differed by the expression of apoB epitopes and their interaction with cultured human skin fibroblasts. LDL was more effective in inhibiting binding, uptake, and degradation of low M(r) Lp(a) than of high M(r) Lp(a). In contrast, Glu-plasminogen, alpha 2-macroglobulin and tissue-type plasminogen activator were more effective in competing for the cellular degradation of high M(r) Lp(a) than of low M(r) Lp(a). Ligand blotting revealed that Lp(a) bound to the low density lipoprotein receptor, the low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein/alpha 2-macroglobulin receptor (LRP) and to two other endosomal membrane proteins. We propose that the LDL receptor preferentially internalizes low M(r) Lp(a), whereas LRP may have a role in the clearance of high M(r) Lp(a).