Lipoprotein interconversions in an insect, Manduca sexta. Evidence for a lipid transfer factor in the hemolymph

R. O. Ryan, S. V. Prasad, E. J. Henriksen, M. A. Wells, J. H. Law

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77 Scopus citations


Hemolymph lipoproteins (lipophorins) of adult Manduca sexta are distinct from larval forms in density, lipid content, composition, and the presence of a third, low molecular weight apoprotein. Generally, only one lipoprotein species exists in M. sexta hemolymph during any given life stage. Progression through the life cycle results in alterations of existing lipoproteins to produce new forms, without new protein synthesis. The observed alterations in lipoprotein density could result from facilitated lipid transfer in insect hemolymph. An in vitro assay of facilitated lipid transfer was developed which employs a high density lipophorin from the wandering larva (density = 1.18 g/ml) as acceptor and adult low density lipophorin (density = 1.03 g/ml) as donor. Adult lipophorin-deficient hemolymph was shown to catalyze a time-dependent equilibration of the starting lipoproteins to produce a new intermediate lipophorin, Lp-I. Hydrodynamic experiments on the donor, acceptor, and product lipoproteins excluded fusion as the mechanism whereby Lp-I is produced. Thus, it is concluded that Lp-I results from facilitated net lipid transfer from low to high density lipoprotein. Furthermore, experiments conducted with radioiodinated donor and radioiodinated acceptor lipoproteins demonstrated that apoprotein exchange does not occur during the lipid transfer reaction. When donor lipoprotein was labeled in the lipid moiety with carbon-14, evidence of diacylglycerol and phospholipid exchange was obtained. Partial characterization of the lipid transfer factor revealed a relationship between incubation time, donor concentration, acceptor concentration, lipophorin-deficient hemolymph concentration, and transfer activity, as measured by Lp-I production. It is concluded that lipophorin-deficient hemolymph contains one or more factor(s) that catalyze net lipid transfer as well as diacylglycerol and phospholipid exchange between lipophorins to produce a single form at equilibrium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)563-568
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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