Animal cells synthesize cholesterol from acetyl CoA through a series of more than 20 enzymatic reactions. In addition, cells obtain cholesterol from plasma in the form of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is internalized via the LDL receptor and hydrolyzed to free cholesterol in lysosomes. Each cell must balance these internal and external sources while avoiding sterol shortage or overaccumulation. Both the biosynthetic and uptake pathways are well-regulated through feedback control. When cells are cultured in the presence of LDL, the activity of both 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG CoA) synthase and HMG CoA reductase decline by more than 90% and the number of LDL receptors also decreases (1). In the absence of LDL, the cells maintain high activities of these two enzymes, which are rate-limiting enzymes of the biosynthetic pathway, and also maintain a large numberof LDL receptors on their surface. In this review we assess recent progress in understanding the mechanisms involved in transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulation of intracellular cholesterol metabolism.
Japan Society for Cell Biology