The low-density lipoprotein receptor gene family: a cellular Swiss army knife?


  • A. Nykjaer
  • T.E. Willnow


  • Trends in Cell Biology


  • Trends Cell Biol 12 (6): 273-280


  • The low-density lipoprotein receptor gene family is an evolutionarily conserved group of cell-surface receptors produced by mammals and other organisms. Initially thought to be endocytic receptors that mediate the uptake of lipoproteins, recent findings have shown that these receptors have other roles in a range of cellular processes. Among other activities, members of this family act as signal transducers in neuronal migration processes, regulate synaptic plasticity or control vitamin homeostasis. Such multifunctionality is achieved by interaction with diverse cell-surface proteins including glycolipid-anchored receptors, G-protein-coupled receptors and ion channels. Here, we review the molecular interactions of this protein family with other cell-surface proteins that provide specificity and versatility – a versatility that may be reminiscent of a cellular Swiss army knife.