TitleVitamin E trafficking.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsTraber MG, Burton GW, Hamilton RL
JournalAnn N Y Acad Sci
Date Published2004 Dec
Keywordsalpha-Tocopherol, Animals, Bile, Carrier Proteins, Cell Membrane, Endocytosis, Endosomes, Golgi Apparatus, Humans, Lipoproteins, VLDL, Liver, Vitamin E

The alpha-tocopherol transfer protein (alpha-TTP) is required to prevent vitamin E deficiency in humans and in alpha-TTP null mice. Whereas alpha-TTP is not required to facilitate intestinal absorption of vitamin E, it is required to maintain normal alpha-tocopherol concentrations in plasma and extrahepatic tissues. alpha-Tocopherol secretion from the liver in very low density lipoproteins (VLDLs) is impaired in humans with a defect in the alpha-TTP gene. In perfusions of isolated cynomolgus monkey livers, VLDLs were preferentially enriched in RRR-alpha-tocopherol. The mechanism by which alpha-TTP incorporates alpha-tocopherol into nascent VLDLs is the topic of this report. VLDL assembly is a multistep secretory process that occurs within the membrane compartments of the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus. Thus, we postulated that alpha-TTP might transfer alpha-tocopherol onto nascent VLDLs either in the endoplasmic reticulum or in the Golgi apparatus. To test these possibilities, we isolated nascent VLDLs from highly purified RER and Golgi apparatus membrane fractions from livers of rats fed equimolar ratios of RRR- and SRR-alpha-tocopherols labeled with different amounts of deuterium. Although the plasma was enriched in RRR-alpha-tocopherol 14 hours after the dose, no enrichment of nascent VLDL precursors from either of the secretory compartments was detected, indicating that VLDL enrichment with alpha-tocopherol may occur as a post-VLDL secretory process. Therefore, we hypothesize that alpha-TTP may facilitate movement of alpha-tocopherol to the hepatocyte plasma membrane (by unknown mechanisms) where newly secreted, nascent VLDLs could acquire both alpha-tocopherol and unesterified cholesterol while within the space of Disse. Clearly, critical information is lacking in our understanding of the mechanism by which alpha-TTP facilitates the preferential enrichment of VLDLs with alpha-tocopherol.

Alternate JournalAnn. N. Y. Acad. Sci.
PubMed ID15753129