The LDL receptor-related protein (originally called LRP, but now referred to as LRP1) is a large endocytic receptor that is widely expressed in several tissues. LRP1 is a member of the LDL receptor family that plays diverse roles in various biological processes including lipoprotein metabolism, degradation of proteases, activation of lysosomal enzymes, and cellular entry of bacterial toxins and viruses. Deletion of the LRP1 gene leads to lethality in mice, revealing a critical, but as of yet, undefined role in development. Tissue-specific gene deletion studies reveal an important contribution of LRP1 in the vasculature, central nervous system, macrophages, and adipocytes. Three important properties of LRP1 dictate its diverse role in physiology: 1) its ability to recognize more than 30 distinct ligands, 2) its ability to bind a large number of cytoplasmic adaptor proteins via determinants located on its cytoplasmic domain in a phosphorylation-specific manner, and 3) its ability to associate with and modulate the activity of other transmembrane receptors such as integrins and receptor tyrosine kinases. Copyright © 2008 the American Physiological Society.