Temporary sequestration of cholesterol and phosphatidylcholine within extracellular domains of ABCA1 during nascent HDL generation

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The quality and quantity of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in blood plasma are important for preventing coronary artery disease. ATP-binding cassette protein A1 (ABCA1) and apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I) play essential roles in nascent HDL formation, but controversy persists regarding the mechanism by which nascent HDL is generated. In the "direct loading model", apoA-I acquires lipids directly from ABCA1 while it is bound to the transporter. By contrast, in the "indirect model", apoA-I acquires lipids from the specific membrane domains created by ABCA1. In this study, we found that trypsin treatment causes rapid release of phosphatidylcholine (PC) and cholesterol from BHK/ABCA1 cells, and that the time course of lipid release coincides with those of trypsin digestion of extracellular domains (ECDs) of surface ABCA1 and of release of ECD fragments into the medium. This trypsin-dependent lipid release was dependent on ABCA1 ATPase activity, and did not occur in cells that express ABCG1, which exports lipids like ABCA1 but does not have large ECDs. These results suggest that the trypsin-sensitive sites on the cell surface are the large ECDs of ABCA1, and that lipids transported by ABCA1 are temporarily sequestered within the ECDs during nascent HDL formation.


  • Scientific reports

    Scientific reports (8), 2018-04-18

    Springer Nature


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