Apolipoprotein B (apo B) circulates in two distinct forms referred to as apo B100 and apo B48. Apo B48 is colinear with the amino-terminal half of apo B100 and arises as a result of a post-transcriptional modification, termed apo B mRNA editing. This process changes a single cytidine nucleotide in apo B100 mRNA thereby altering a CAA codon, encoding glutamine in apo B100, to a UAA codon, which specifies an in-frame stop codon in apo B48. The functional consequences of apo B mRNA editing include the divergent catabolism of plasma lipoproteins expressing either apo B100 or B48, and also the ability to generate the hybrid lipoprotein, Lp(a). These differences arise because the requisite regions of apo B for interaction either with the low-density lipoprotein receptor or with apolipoprotein (a) are contained within the carboxyl terminus of apo B100. Apo B mRNA editing is regulated by species, tissue and cell-specific factors, one of which has been recently cloned. The further characterization of apo B mRNA editing, the first example of a mammalian gene regulated by post-transcriptional nucleotide alteration, will be important for an understanding of lipoprotein assembly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-543
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 1993


  • Apo B gene expression
  • Lipoprotein assembly
  • RNA editing


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