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

Adenoviral-mediated expression of Pcsk9 in mice results in a low-density lipoprotein receptor knockout phenotype.

Proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin 9 (Pcsk9) is a subtilisin serine protease with a putative role in cholesterol metabolism. Pcsk9 expression is down-regulated by dietary cholesterol, and mutations in Pcsk9 have been associated with a form of autosomal dominant hypercholesterolemia. To study the function of Pcsk9 in mice, an adenovirus constitutively expressing murine Pcsk9 (Pcsk9-Ad) was used. Pcsk9 overexpression in wild-type mice caused a 2-fold increase in plasma total cholesterol and a 5-fold increase in non-high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, with no increase in HDL cholesterol, as compared with mice infected with a control adenovirus. Fast protein liquid chromatography analysis showed that the increase in non-HDL cholesterol was due to an increase in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. This effect appeared to depend on the LDL receptor (LDLR) because LDLR knockout mice infected with Pcsk9-Ad had no change in plasma cholesterol levels as compared with knockout mice infected with a control adenovirus. Furthermore, whereas overexpression of Pcsk9 had no effect on LDLR mRNA levels, there was a near absence of LDLR protein in animals overexpressing Pcsk9. These results were confirmed in vitro by the demonstration that transfection of Pcsk9 in McA-RH7777 cells caused a reduction in LDLR protein and LDL binding. In summary, these results indicate that overexpression of Pcsk9 interferes with LDLR- mediated LDL cholesterol uptake. Because Pcsk9 and LDLR are coordinately regulated by cholesterol, Pcsk9 may be involved in a novel mechanism to modulate LDLR function by an alternative pathway than classic cholesterol inhibition of sterol regulatory element binding protein-mediated transcription.[1]


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