We investigated a common polymorphism in the human apolipoprotein A-I gene promoter at a position 76 bp upstream of the transcriptional start site. 54 human subjects, whose apoAI production rates had been determined by apoAI turnover studies, were genotyped at this polymorphic position by a novel technique using polymerase chain reaction followed by primer extension. 35 subjects were homozygous for a guanosine (G) at this locus and 19 were heterozygous with a guanosine and adenosine (A). The apoAI production rates were significantly lower (by 11%) in the G/A heterozygotes than in the G homozygotes (P = 0.025). In spite of the apparent effect of this apoAI gene promoter polymorphism on the apoAI production rate, there was no effect on HDL cholesterol or apoAI levels. To investigate whether the observed difference in apoAI production rates was related to differential gene expression of the two alleles, promoters containing either allele were linked to the reporter gene chloramphenicol acetyltransferase, and relative promoter efficiencies were determined after transfection into the human HepG2 hepatoma cell line. The A allele expressed only 68% +/- 5% as well as the G allele, a result consistent with the in vivo apoAI production rate data.
J D Smith, E A Brinton, J L Breslow