Ames dwarf, vldl (very low density lipoproteins), vtv (vldl transport vesicle)


Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) have been recorded as the number one cause of death worldwide, accounting for 32% of total deaths annually. More than two-thirds of all CVD cases are associated with atherosclerosis, which is the accumulation of fats and other substances causing plaque formation in the interior walls of major arteries. This leads to narrowing of the lumen and hardening of the arteries, ultimately resulting in angina, heart attack and/or stroke. Studies have shown that the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and associated CVDs is strongly linked to elevated secretion of liver-specific lipoproteins called very-low-density-lipoprotein (VLDL). VLDLs are crucial lipoproteins responsible for transportation of triacylglycerides (TAGs), chemically inert particles that are physiologically significant for their energy storing capacity, from the liver to peripheral tissues. These VLDL particles are synthesized in the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of hepatocytes, transported from the ER to the cis-Golgi in special transport vesicles called VLDL-transport-vesicles (VTVs) and secreted into plasma through a highly regulated secretory pathway. Previous studies from our laboratory have shown that VTV-mediated ER-to-Golgi VLDL trafficking is the rate-limiting step in overall VLDL secretion from hepatocytes into plasma. In this project, we investigated intracellular VLDL trafficking and VLDL secretion in Ames dwarf (Prop1df, df/df) mice, a mutant mouse model homozygous for a recessive mutation at Prop1 gene locus (Prop1df) having deficiency of growth hormone (GH), thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and prolactin (PRL). This model is characteristic of prolonged longevity (~50% longer) and improved insulin sensitivity in comparison to their wild-type (N) counterparts. Ames dwarf (df/df) mice have recently been shown to have highly reduced plasma TAG levels, associating them with reduced susceptibility to atherosclerosis and associated CVDs. The underlying mechanism responsible for reduced VLDL secretion in Ames dwarf mice is yet to be characterized. We hypothesize that VTV-mediated trafficking of VLDL is reduced in Ames dwarf mice because of reduced expression of proteins regulating VLDL and VTV formation. To test our hypothesis, we first performed VTV-budding assay using cellular fractions isolated separately from Ames dwarf (df/df) and wild-type (N) mice livers. Our results show a significant (45%) reduction in VTV-budding process in Ames dwarf (df/df) mice compared to wild-type (N). Next we performed 2-dimensional differential gel electrophoresis (2-DIGE) on VTV and whole cell lysate (WCL) samples in order to examine the differences in protein expression and to have highly specific protein separation. ExPASy database was used to analyze protein spots that allowed us in identifying proteins specifically expressed in each of the mouse groups. Employing western blotting, samples (ER, cytosol, VTV and WCL) from both sets of mice were tested for expression levels of VLDL and VTV associated proteins (ApoB100, Sec22b, CideB, MTP, Apo-A1 and Apo-AIV) with ?-actin as the loading control. Significant differences in expression level of these proteins were observed which strongly suggest that the formation of VTV from ER in male Ames dwarf (df/df) mice is reduced compared to wild-type (N). Overall, we conclude that the differential expression of proteins required for VLDL transport causes reduced VLDL secretion in male Ames dwarf (df/df) mice.


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Graduation Date





Siddiqi, Shadab


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Medicine


Molecular Biology & Microbiology

Degree Program









Release Date

December 2020

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Campus-only Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Medicine; Medicine -- Dissertations, Academic