Degradation of apolipoprotein B-100 by lysosomal cysteine cathepsins

Martin Linke, Ronald E. Gordon, Michèle Brillard, Fabien Lecaille, Gilles Lalmanach, Dieter Brömme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Although the degradation of cellular or endocytosed proteins comprises the normal function of lysosomal proteinases, these enzymes were also detected extracellularly during diseases such as atherosclerosis. Since lysosomal cysteine cathepsins were demonstrated to transform native LDL particles into a proatherogenic type, the following study was undertaken to characterize the modification of LDL particles and the degradation of apolipoprotein B-100 in more detail. LDL was incubated with cathepsins B, F, K, L, S, and V at pH 5.5 and under physiological conditions (pH 7.4) for 2 h to mimic conditions of limited proteolysis. Gel electrophoretic analysis of the degradation products revealed that cathepsin-mediated proteolysis of apolipoprotein B-100 is a fast process carried out by all enzymes at pH 5.5, and by cathepsin S also at pH 7.4. Electron microscopic analysis showed that cathepsin-mediated degradation of apolipoprotein B-100 rendered LDL particles fusion-competent compared to controls. N-Terminal sequencing of cathepsin cleavage fragments from apolipoprotein B-100 revealed an abundance of enzyme-specific cleavage sites located in almost all structurally and functionally essential regions. Since the cleavage sites superimpose well with results from substrate specificity studies, they might be useful for the development of cathepsin-specific inhibitors and substrates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1295-1303
Number of pages9
JournalBiological Chemistry
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Apolipoprotein B-100
  • Cell-associated proteolysis
  • Cleavage sites
  • Cysteine cathepsins
  • LDL particle fusion
  • N-terminal sequencing


Dive into the research topics of 'Degradation of apolipoprotein B-100 by lysosomal cysteine cathepsins'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this