1998 Volume 4 Issue 3 Pages 112-117
High density lipoprotein (HDL), an antiatherogenic lipoprotein comprises several subclasses differing in composition and metabolic function. This physiological complexity appears to be matched with the growing number of candidate HDL receptors, since several HDL binding proteins have recently been identified in various tissues. Because these putative receptors may signal different pathways it is important to identify their structure and potential role in HDL metabolism. We review recent progress in the cloning and characterization of HB2, one of a pair of HDL binding proteins (HB1 and HB2) first purified from rat liver. The structure of HB2 is consistent with a receptor role for this membrane protein and when expressed in cells, increases HDL binding 2 fold. HB2, minimally present in THP-1 cells, is substantially upregulated in macrophages and appears sensitive to cholesterol loading of these cells. The protein shows high homology with adhesion molecules ALCAM and BEN and the possibility that HDL by binding to HB2, reduces adhesion induced arterial wall injury, is discussed in the context of the known protective role of HDL against atherosclerosis. The possible functions of HB2 are also compared with other recently cloned HDL receptors.