N-Glycosylation Defects in Humans Lower Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Through Increased Low-Density Lipoprotein Receptor Expression

Marjolein A.W. Van Den Boogert, Lars E. Larsen, Lubna Ali, Sacha D. Kuil, Patrick L.W. Chong, Anke Loregger, Jeffrey Kroon, Johan G. Schnitzler, Alinda W.M. Schimmel, Jorge Peter, Johannes H.M. Levels, Gerry Steenbergen, Eva Morava, Geesje M. Dallinga-Thie, Ron A. Wevers, Jan Albert Kuivenhoven, Nicholas J. Hand, Noam Zelcer, Daniel J. Rader, Erik S.G. StroesDirk J. Lefeber, Adriaan G. Holleboom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: The importance of protein glycosylation in regulating lipid metabolism is becoming increasingly apparent. We set out to further investigate this by studying patients with type I congenital disorders of glycosylation (CDGs) with defective N-glycosylation. Methods: We studied 29 patients with the 2 most prevalent types of type I CDG, ALG6 (asparagine-linked glycosylation protein 6)-deficiency CDG and PMM2 (phosphomannomutase 2)-deficiency CDG, and 23 first- and second-degree relatives with a heterozygous mutation and measured plasma cholesterol levels. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) metabolism was studied in 3 cell models - gene silencing in HepG2 cells, patient fibroblasts, and patient hepatocyte-like cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells - by measuring apolipoprotein B production and secretion, LDL receptor expression and membrane abundance, and LDL particle uptake. Furthermore, SREBP2 (sterol regulatory element-binding protein 2) protein expression and activation and endoplasmic reticulum stress markers were studied. Results: We report hypobetalipoproteinemia (LDL cholesterol [LDL-C] and apolipoprotein B below the fifth percentile) in a large cohort of patients with type I CDG (mean age, 9 years), together with reduced LDL-C and apolipoprotein B in clinically unaffected heterozygous relatives (mean age, 46 years), compared with 2 separate sets of age- and sex-matched control subjects. ALG6 and PMM2 deficiency led to markedly increased LDL uptake as a result of increased cell surface LDL receptor abundance. Mechanistically, this outcome was driven by increased SREBP2 protein expression accompanied by amplified target gene expression, resulting in higher LDL receptor protein levels. Endoplasmic reticulum stress was not found to be a major mediator. Conclusions: Our study establishes N-glycosylation as an important regulator of LDL metabolism. Given that LDL-C was also reduced in a group of clinically unaffected heterozygotes, we propose that increasing LDL receptor-mediated cholesterol clearance by targeting N-glycosylation in the LDL pathway may represent a novel therapeutic strategy to reduce LDL-C and cardiovascular disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-292
Number of pages13
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 23 2019


  • LDL
  • cholesterol
  • congenital disorders of glycosylation
  • glycosylation
  • hypobetalipoproteinemias
  • receptors
  • sterol regulatory element binding protein 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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