Lipid transfer particle catalyzes transfer of carotenoids between lipophorins of Bombyx mori.

Insect biochemistry and molecular biology

PubMedID: 9887509

Tsuchida K, Arai M, Tanaka Y, Ishihara R, Ryan RO, Maekawa H. Lipid transfer particle catalyzes transfer of carotenoids between lipophorins of Bombyx mori. Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 1998;28(12):927-34.
The yellow color of Bombyx mori hemolymph is due to the presence of carotenoids, which are primarily associated with lipophorin particles. Carotenoids were extracted from high density lipophorin (HDLp) of B. mori and analyzed by HPLC. HDLp contained 33 micrograms of carotenoids per mg protein. Over 90% of carotenoids were lutein while alpha-carotene and beta-carotene were minor components. When larval hemolymph was subjected to density gradient ultracentrifugation, a second minor yellow band was present, which was identified as B. mori lipid transfer particle (LTP). During other life stages examined however, this second band was not visible. To determine if coloration of LTP may fluctuate during development, we determined its concentration in hemolymph and compared it to that of lipophorin. Both proteins were present during all life stages and their concentrations gradually increased. The ratio of lipophorin: LTP was 10-15:1 during the fourth and fifth instar larval stages, and 20-30:1 during the pupal and adult stages. Thus, there was no correlation between the yellow color attributed to LTP and its hemolymph concentration. It is possible that yellow coloration of the LTP fraction corresponds to developmental stages when the particle is active in carotene transport. To determine if LTP is capable of facilitating carotene transfer, we took advantage of a white hemolymph B. mori strain which, when fed artificial diet containing a low carotene content, gives rise to a lipophorin that is nearly colorless. A spectrophotometric, carotene specific, transfer assay was developed which employed wild type, carotene-rich HDLp as donor particle and colorless low density lipophorin, derived from the white hemolymph strain animals, as acceptor particle. In incubations lacking LTP carotenes remained associated with HDLp while inclusion of LTP induced a redistribution of carotenes between the donor and acceptor in a time and concentration dependent manner. Time course studies suggested the rate of LTP-mediated carotene transfer was relatively slow, requiring up to 4 h to reach equilibrium. By contrast, studies employing 3H-diacylglycerol labeled HDLp as donor particle in lipid transfer assays revealed a rapid equilibration of label between the particles. Thus, it is plausible that the slower rate of LTP-mediated carotene transfer is due to its probable sequestration in the core of HDLp.