Author(s): Jenne DE, Lowin B, Peitsch MC, Bttcher A, Schmitz G
Clusterin/human complement lysis inhibitor (CLI) is incorporated stoichiometrically into the soluble terminal complement complex and inhibits the cytolytic reaction of purified complement components C5b-9 in vitro. Using an anti-clusterin affinity column, we found that an additional protein component with a molecular mass of 28-kDa co-purifies with clusterin from human plasma. We show by immunoblotting and amino acid sequencing that this component is apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I). By using physiological salt buffers containing 0.5% Triton X-100, apoA-I is completely dissociated from clusterin bound to the antibody column. Free clusterin immobilized on the antibody-Sepharose selectively retains apoA-I from total human plasma. Delipidated apoA-I and to a lesser extent ultracentrifugation-purified high density lipoproteins (HDL) adsorbed to nitrocellulose also have a binding affinity for purified clusterin devoid of apoA-I. The isolated apoA-I-clusterin complex contains approximately 22% (w/w) lipids which are composed of 54% (mole/mol) total cholesterol (molar ratio of unesterified/esterified cholesterol, 0.58), 42% phospholipids, and 4% triglycerides. In agreement with the low lipid content, apoA-I-clusterin complexes are detected only in trace amounts in HDL fractions prepared by density ultracentrifugation. In free flow isotachophoresis, the purified apoA-I-clusterin complex has the same mobility as the native clusterin complex in human plasma and is found in the slow-migrating HDL fraction of fasting plasma. Our data indicate that clusterin circulates in plasma as a HDL complex, which may serve not only as an inhibitor of the lytic terminal complement cascade, but also as a regulator of lipid transport and local lipid redistribution.