RAP, a specialized chaperone, prevents ligand-induced ER retention and degradation of LDL receptor-related endocytic receptors

Thomas E. Willnow, Astrid Rohlmann, Jay Norton, Hideo Otani, Jürgen R. Braun, Robert E Hammer, Joachim Herz

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The multifunctional low density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor-related protein (LRP) forms a complex with a receptor-associated protein (RAP) within the secretory pathway. RAP inhibits ligand binding to LRP and is required for normal functional expression of LRP in vivo, suggesting a physiological function as a specialized chaperone. We have used RAP-deficient mice, generated by gene targeting, to investigate the role of RAP in the biosynthesis and biological activity of LRP and other members of the LDL receptor gene family in various organs and in embryonic fibroblasts. Our results demonstrate that RAP is required for the proper folding and export of the receptors from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) by preventing the premature binding of co-expressed ligands. Overexpression of apolipoprotein E (apoE), a high affinity ligand for LRP, results in dramatically reduced cellular LRP expression, an effect that is prevented by co-expression of RAP. RAP thus defines a novel class of molecular chaperones that selectively protect endocytic receptors by binding to newly synthesized receptor polypeptides, thereby preventing ligand-induced aggregation and subsequent degradation in the ER.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2632-2639
Number of pages8
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 21 1996



  • Alzheimer's disease
  • ApoE
  • Secretory pathway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

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