Lipoprotein lipase (LPL) plays a central role in triglyceride metabolism, regulating the catabolism of triglyceride-rich lipoprotein particles. LPL performs its hydrolytic action attached to heparan sulfate proteoglycans at the luminal surface of capillary endothelial cells. We have assessed the effect of the Asn291-->Ser (N291S) substitution found in LPL gene from a human hyperlipemic patient. Our results showed that both the wild-type (WT) and N291S hLPL expressed in COS1 cells were secreted to the extracellular medium, and presented similar intracellular distribution patterns. Furthermore, heparin-Sepharose affinity chromatography assays revealed normal heparin affinity of the N291S hLPL. In addition, both the mutant and the WT protein bound to the surface of human fibroblasts and untransfected COS1 cells. Interestingly, diminished LPL specific activity was observed in the extracellular medium from mutant expressing cells. Therefore the lack of normal LPL activity in patients harbouring such a mutation could be the cause of their hyperlipemic disorder.