Bone morphogenetic protein 1 (BMP1), a member of the astacin family of zinc-metalloproteases, proteolytically cleaves the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) within its ligand-binding domain, reducing the binding and cellular uptake of LDL-cholesterol. Here, we aimed to determine whether astacin proteases other than BMP1 may also cleave LDLR. Although human hepatocytes express all six astacin proteases, including the meprins and mammalian tolloid, we found through pharmacological inhibition and genetic knockdown that only BMP1 contributed to the cleavage of LDLR in its ligand-binding domain. We also found that the minimum amino acid change required to render mouse LDLR susceptible to cleavage by BMP1 is mutation at the P1′ and P2 positions of the cleavage site. When expressed in cells, the resulting humanised-mouse LDLR internalised LDL-cholesterol. This work provides insight into the biological mechanisms regulating LDLR function.
- LDL receptor