Mammalian cells have developed various responses to minimize accumulation of unesterified cholesterol, as the latter can result in cell toxicity and death [reviewed in this edition by Björkhem (Björkhem, I. 2009. Are side-chain oxidized oxysterols regulators also in vivo? J. Lipid Res. In press)]. These responses include esterification to sequester excess sterol in intracellular lipid droplets, repression of both cholesterol synthesis and LDL receptor expression (thus reducing endocytosis of LDL), and induction of a panoply of genes that promote sterol efflux and affect lipid metabolism. The nuclear receptor liver-X-receptor (LXR) functions as a cellular “sterol sensor” and plays a critical role in these latter transcriptional changes [reviewed in this edition by Glass (Shibata, N., and Glass C, K. 2009. Regulation of macrophage function in inflammation and atherosclerosis. J. Lipid Res. In press)]. Activation of LXR by either endogenous oxysterols or synthetic agonists induces the expression of many genes, including those encoding ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters ABCA1, ABCG1, ABCG5, and ABCG8. As discussed below, these four proteins function to promote sterol efflux from cells
To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.