Faculty Research 1990 - 1999


Mouse apolipoprotein J: characterization of a gene implicated in atherosclerosis.

Document Type


Publication Date



Animal, Atherosclerosis: ge, di, Base-Sequence, Blotting-Southern, Chromosome-Mapping, Coronary-Vessels: pa, Disease-Models-Animal, DNA-Complementary: an, Genetic-Markers, Genome, Glycoproteins: an, ge, Human, Immunoblotting, Immunohistochemistry, In-Situ-Hybridization, Male, Mice, Mice-Inbred-CBA, Mice-Inbred-C57BL, Molecular-Sequence-Data, RNA-Messenger: an, SUPPORT-NON-U-S-GOVT, SUPPORT-U-S-GOVT-P-H-S

JAX Source

J Lipid Res 1994 Feb;35(2):194-210




Apolipoprotein J (apoJ), a glycoprotein associated with subclasses of plasma high density lipoproteins (HDL), was found to accumulate in aortic lesions in a human subject with transplantation-associated arteriosclerosis and in mice fed a high-fat atherogenic diet. Foam cells present in mouse aortic valve lesions expressed apoJ mRNA, suggesting local synthesis contributes to apoJ's localization in atherosclerotic plaque. As a prerequisite for elucidating the physiological function of apoJ by using a mouse model, cDNA clones representing the mouse homolog of apoJ were isolated, characterized, and sequenced. The nucleotide sequence predicts a 448 amino acid, 50,260 dalton protein. There was 81% nucleotide sequence similarity between mouse and human apoJ, and 75% similarity at the amino acid level. Mouse apoJ contains six potential N-glycosylation sites, a potential Arg-Ser cleavage site to generate alpha and beta subunits, a cluster of five cysteine residues in each subunit, three putative amphipathic helices, and four potential heparin-binding domains. Southern blot analysis indicates that the gene encompasses approximately 23 kb of DNA. Recombinant inbred strains were used to map apoJ to mouse chromosome 14, tightly linked to Mtv-11. All of the transcribed portions of the gene were cloned and analyzed, and all intron-exon boundaries were defined. The first of the 9 exons is untranslated. Single exons encode the signal peptide, the cysteine-rich domain in the alpha subunit, two potential amphipathic helices flanking a heparin-binding consensus sequence, and a potential amphipathic helix overlapping a heparin-binding domain, supporting their potential functional significance in apoJ. A variety of mouse tissues constitutively express a 1.9 kb apoJ mRNA, with apparently identical transcriptional start sites utilized in all tissues tested. ApoJ mRNA was most abundant in stomach, liver, brain, and testis, with intermediate levels in heart, ovary, and kidney. The high degree of similarity between mouse and human apoJ, in structure and distribution of the gene product, gene structure, and deposition in atherosclerotic plaques, suggests that the mouse is an ideal model with which to elucidate the role of apoJ in HDL metabolism and atherogenesis.