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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Cholesterol and hepatic lipoprotein assembly and secretion.

The assembly and secretion of apo B100 containing lipoproteins (i.e., VLDL) by the liver and cholesterol metabolism are interrelated on several different levels and for several different physiologic reasons. Firstly, hepatic VLDL is the major precursor for LDL, which in the human is the major vehicle responsible for transporting cholesterol to peripheral tissues. Secondly, cholesterol is supplied to many tissues by a specific uptake of LDL via LDL receptor, which is expressed in a regulated manner by most mammalian tissues. Thirdly, the rate of hepatic cholesterol biosynthesis and metabolism to bile acids correlates with production of VLDL. This apparent coordinate expression of cholesterol biosynthetic/catabolic enzymes and hepatic VLDL assembly/secretion are mediated at least in part through the sterol response element binding protein (SREBP) transcription factor family. Their gene targets include a plethora of enzymes that regulate glycolysis, energy production, lipogenesis and cholesterol catabolism. Studies of hepatoma cells overexpressing CYP7A1, the rate-limiting enzyme controlling bile acid synthesis, show that as a result of increased mature SREBP1, there is a coordinate induction of lipogenesis and the assembly and secretion of VLDL. These and additional studies show that the bile acid synthetic pathway and the VLDL assembly/secretion pathway are coordinately linked through SREBP-dependent transcription. Based on studies showing that within the liver acinus, the expression of CYP7A1 is mainly in the pericentral region while HMG-CoA reductase is mainly periportal, we propose that a 'metabolic zonal segregation' plays an important role in coordinate regulation of cholesterol and VLDL metabolism. This putative 'metabolic zonal segregation' may provide segregation of metabolic functions which may be mutually antagonistic. For example, there may be physiologic states in which the bile acid synthetic pathway may compete with the VLDL assembly/secretion pathway for a limited amount of cholesterol. Metabolic antagonism (e.g., competition for cholesterol) may be avoided via inducing SREBP-mediated transcription. Adaptation of catabolic hepatocytes to accommodate the expression of VLDL assembly/secretion may occur in response to activation of SREBP-mediated transcription. Support for these is discussed.[1]


  1. Cholesterol and hepatic lipoprotein assembly and secretion. Kang, S., Davis, R.A. Biochim. Biophys. Acta (2000) [Pubmed]
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