Vitamin E (tocopherol) is the major fat-soluble antioxidant in humans, and serves a critical function in protection against a plethora of oxidative-stress-related pathologies. However, surprisingly little is known about the molecular mechanisms that regulate the levels and activities of the vitamin in the body. The hepatic alpha tocopherol transfer protein (TTP) is a critical regulator of vitamin E status;humans carrying mutated TTP alleles develop severe vitamin E deficiency, accompanied by neuronal degeneration. TTP is thought to function as a 'gatekeeper'in the liver, where it selectively retains the most biologically active form of vitamin E (RRR-1-tocopherol), and 'directs'it to plasma lipoproteins that deliver the vitamin to peripheral cells. Here, we propose to continue our in vivo and in vitro studies on TTP with the overall goal of understanding the molecular bases for the function of the protein in mediating the effects of vitamin E, both in health and in disease. We will use our combined expertise in synthetic chemistry, biophysics, biochemistry and cell-biology to address four specific aims: 1)- to characterize the steps involved in the transport of vitamin E in hepatocytes, and the exact role of TTP in stimulating this process. Using novel fluorescent analogs of vitamin E, we will monitor the intracellular trafficking of the vitamin in cultured hepatocytes. We will then use molecular- and cell-biology approaches to define the steps that TTP catalyzes, and the molecular mechanisms that underlie these events. 2)- To determine the factors and mechanisms that regulate the expression and degradation of TTP, and the roles that vitamin E status and / or oxidative stress play in these processes. 3)- To examine the functions of TTP in neurons, where the protein is expressed in significant levels, and which are the primary site of damage due to vitamin E deficiency. 4)- To understand the molecular mechanisms by which TTP catalyzes the inter-membrane transfer of vitamin E in vitro. Studies proposed in this application will provide critical information that will improve our understanding of vitamin E function as a mediator of human health.

Public Health Relevance

Vitamin E is an essential nutrient that is required for protection of all cells from oxidative damage. TTP is the only known protein that specifically regulates the levels of vitamin E in the body. We propose to determine what exactly TTP does in liver cells, and how mutations in TTP that are found in humans affect its activity.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Integrative Nutrition and Metabolic Processes Study Section (INMP)
Program Officer
Maruvada, Padma
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Case Western Reserve University
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Ghelfi, Mikel; Ulatowski, Lynn; Manor, Danny et al. (2016) Synthesis and characterization of a fluorescent probe for ?-tocopherol suitable for fluorescence microscopy. Bioorg Med Chem 24:2754-61
Chung, Stacey; Ghelfi, Mikel; Atkinson, Jeffrey et al. (2016) Vitamin E and Phosphoinositides Regulate the Intracellular Localization of the Hepatic ?-Tocopherol Transfer Protein. J Biol Chem 291:17028-39
Baptist, Matilda; Panagabko, Candace; Nickels, Jonathan D et al. (2015) 2,2'-Bis(monoacylglycero) PO4 (BMP), but Not 3,1'-BMP, increases membrane curvature stress to enhance ?-tocopherol transfer protein binding to membranes. Lipids 50:323-8
Ulatowski, Lynn M; Manor, Danny (2015) Vitamin E and neurodegeneration. Neurobiol Dis 84:78-83
Ulatowski, L; Parker, R; Warrier, G et al. (2014) Vitamin E is essential for Purkinje neuron integrity. Neuroscience 260:120-9
Ulatowski, Lynn; Manor, Danny (2013) Vitamin E trafficking in neurologic health and disease. Annu Rev Nutr 33:87-103
Nicod, Nathalie; Parker, Robert S (2013) Vitamin E secretion by Caco-2 monolayers to APOA1, but not to HDL, is vitamer selective. J Nutr 143:1565-72
Ulatowski, Lynn; Dreussi, Cara; Noy, Noa et al. (2012) Expression of the ?-tocopherol transfer protein gene is regulated by oxidative stress and common single-nucleotide polymorphisms. Free Radic Biol Med 53:2318-26
Bardowell, Sabrina A; Duan, Faping; Manor, Danny et al. (2012) Disruption of mouse cytochrome p450 4f14 (Cyp4f14 gene) causes severe perturbations in vitamin E metabolism. J Biol Chem 287:26077-86
Bardowell, Sabrina A; Ding, Xinxin; Parker, Robert S (2012) Disruption of P450-mediated vitamin E hydroxylase activities alters vitamin E status in tocopherol supplemented mice and reveals extra-hepatic vitamin E metabolism. J Lipid Res 53:2667-76

Showing the most recent 10 out of 24 publications