Proteolysis of Apolipoprotein A-I by Secretory Phospholipase A2. A new Link between Inflammation and Atherosclerosis [Molecular Bases of Disease]

February 12th, 2014 by Cavigiolio, G., Jayaraman, S.

In the acute phase of the inflammatory response, secretory phospholipase A2 (sPLA2) reaches its maximum levels in plasma, where it is mostly associated with high density lipoproteins (HDL). Over-expression of human sPLA2 in transgenic mice reduces both HDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I) plasma levels through increased HDL catabolism by an unknown mechanism. To identify unknown PLA2-mediated activities on the molecular components of HDL we characterized the protein and lipid products of PLA2 reaction with HDL. Consistent with previous studies, hydrolysis of HDL phospholipids by PLA2 reduced the particle size without changing its protein composition. However, when HDL was destabilized in the presence of PLA2 by the action of CETP or by guanidine hydrochloride treatment, a fraction of apoA-I, but no other proteins, dissociated from the particle and was rapidly cleaved. Incubation of PLA2 with lipid-free apoA-I produced similar protein fragments in the range of 6-15 kDa, suggesting specific and direct reaction of PLA2 with apoA-I. Mass spectrometry analysis of isolated proteolytic fragments indicated at least two major cleavage sites at the C-terminal and the central domain of apoA-I. ApoA-I proteolysis by PLA2 was Ca-independent, implicating a different mechanism from the Ca-dependent PLA2-mediated phospholipid hydrolysis. Inhibition of proteolysis by benzamidine suggests that the proteolytic and lipolytic activities of PLA2 proceed through different mechanisms. Our study identifies a previously unknown proteolytic activity of PLA2 which is specific to apoA-I and may contribute to the enhanced catabolism of apoA-I in inflammation and atherosclerosis.
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