Aggregated Low-Density Lipoprotein Induces LRP1 Stabilization Through E3 Ubiquitin Ligase CHFR Downregulation in Human Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells
Objective—Low density lipoprotein retention and aggregation low-density lipoprotein (agLDL) in the arterial intima are key processes in atherogenesis. AgLDL is taken up through low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 (LRP1) by human vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC). AgLDL increases LRP1 expression, at least in part, by downregulation of sterol regulatory element-binding proteins. It is unknown whether agLDL has some effect on the ubiquitin-proteasome system, and therefore on the LRP1 receptor turnover. The objective of this study was to analyze the effect of agLDL on the degradation of LRP1 by the ubiquitin-proteasome system in human VSMC.
Methods and Results—Human VSMC were isolated from the media of human coronary arteries. Ubiquitinylated LRP1 protein levels were significantly reduced in human VSMC exposed to agLDL (100 μg/mL) for 20 hours (agLDL: 3.70±0.44 a.u. versus control: 9.68±0.55 a.u). Studies performed with cycloheximide showed that agLDL prolongs the LRP1 protein half life. Pulse-chase analysis showed that LRP1 turnover rate is reduced in agLDL-exposed VSMC. Two-dimensional electrophoresis shows an alteration in the proteomic profile of a RING type E3 ubiquitin ligase, CHFR. Real-time PCR and Western blot analysis showed that agLDL (100 μg/mL) decreased the transcriptional and protein expression of CHFR. CHFR silencing increased VSMC, but not macrophage, LRP1 expression. However, CHFR silencing did not exert any effect on the classical low-density lipoprotein receptor protein levels. Furthermore, immunoprecipitation experiments demonstrated that the physical interaction between CHFR and LRP1 decreased in the presence of agLDL.
Conclusion—Our results demonstrate that agLDL prolongs the half life of LRP1 by preventing the receptor ubiquitinylation, at least in part, through CHFR targeting. This mechanism seems to be specific for LRP1 and VSMC.
- Received July 13, 2012.
- Accepted November 25, 2012.
- © 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.