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1.  Intestinal ABCA1 directly contributes to HDL biogenesis in vivo 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2006;116(4):1052-1062.
Plasma HDL cholesterol levels are inversely related to risk for atherosclerosis. The ATP-binding cassette, subfamily A, member 1 (ABCA1) mediates the rate-controlling step in HDL particle formation, the assembly of free cholesterol and phospholipids with apoA-I. ABCA1 is expressed in many tissues; however, the physiological functions of ABCA1 in specific tissues and organs are still elusive. The liver is known to be the major source of plasma HDL, but it is likely that there are other important sites of HDL biogenesis. To assess the contribution of intestinal ABCA1 to plasma HDL levels in vivo, we generated mice that specifically lack ABCA1 in the intestine. Our results indicate that approximately 30% of the steady-state plasma HDL pool is contributed by intestinal ABCA1 in mice. In addition, our data suggest that HDL derived from intestinal ABCA1 is secreted directly into the circulation and that HDL in lymph is predominantly derived from the plasma compartment. These data establish a critical role for intestinal ABCA1 in plasma HDL biogenesis in vivo.
PMCID: PMC1401485  PMID: 16543947
2.  The “Beta-Clasp” model of apolipoprotein A-I - a lipid-free solution structure determined by electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy 
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta  2012;1821(3):448-455.
Apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I) is the major protein component of high density lipoproteins (HDL) and plays a central role in cholesterol metabolism. The lipid-free / lipid-poor form of apoA-I is the preferred substrate for the ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1). The interaction of apoA-I with ABCA1 leads to the formation of cholesterol laden high density lipoprotein (HDL) particles, a key step in reverse cholesterol transport and the maintenance of cholesterol homeostasis. Knowledge of the structure of lipid-free apoA-I is essential to understanding its critical interaction with ABCA1 and the molecular mechanisms underlying HDL biogenesis. We therefore examined the structure of lipid-free apoA-I by electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy (EPR). Through site directed spin label EPR, we mapped the secondary structure of apoA-I and identified sites of spin coupling as residues 26, 44, 64, 167, 217 and 226. We capitalize on the fact that lipid-free apoA-I self-associates in an anti-parallel manner in solution. We employed these sites of spin coupling to define the central plane in the dimeric apoA-I complex. Applying both the constraints of dipolar coupling with the EPR-derived pattern of solvent accessibility, we assembled the secondary structure into a tertiary context, providing a solution structure for lipid-free apoA-I.
PMCID: PMC3402359  PMID: 22245143
3.  Targeted inactivation of hepatic Abca1 causes profound hypoalphalipoproteinemia and kidney hypercatabolism of apoA-I 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2005;115(5):1333-1342.
Patients with Tangier disease exhibit extremely low plasma HDL concentrations resulting from mutations in the ATP-binding cassette, sub-family A, member 1 (ABCA1) protein. ABCA1 controls the rate-limiting step in HDL particle assembly by mediating efflux of cholesterol and phospholipid from cells to lipid-free apoA-I, which forms nascent HDL particles. ABCA1 is widely expressed; however, the specific tissues involved in HDL biogenesis are unknown. To determine the role of the liver in HDL biogenesis, we generated mice with targeted deletion of the second nucleotide-binding domain of Abca1 in liver only (Abca1–L/–L). Abca1–L/–L mice had total plasma and HDL cholesterol concentrations that were 19% and 17% those of wild-type littermates, respectively. In vivo catabolism of HDL apoA-I from wild-type mice or human lipid-free apoA-I was 2-fold higher in Abca1–L/–L mice compared with controls due to a 2-fold increase in the catabolism of apoA-I by the kidney, with no change in liver catabolism. We conclude that in chow-fed mice, the liver is the single most important source of plasma HDL. Furthermore, hepatic, but not extrahepatic, Abca1 is critical in maintaining the circulation of mature HDL particles by direct lipidation of hepatic lipid-poor apoA-I, slowing its catabolism by the kidney and prolonging its plasma residence time.
PMCID: PMC1074680  PMID: 15841208
4.  The Interaction of ApoA-I and ABCA1 Triggers Signal Transduction Pathways to Mediate Efflux of Cellular Lipids 
Molecular Medicine  2011;18(1):149-158.
Reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) has been characterized as a crucial step for antiatherosclerosis, which is initiated by ATP-binding cassette A1 (ABCA1) to mediate the efflux of cellular phospholipids and cholesterol to lipid-free apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I). However, the mechanisms underlying apoA-I/ABCA1 interaction to lead to the lipidation of apoA-I are poorly understood. There are several models proposed for the interaction of apoA-I with ABCA1 as well as the lipidation of apoA-I mediated by ABCA1. ApoA-I increases the levels of ABCA1 protein markedly. In turn, ABCA1 can stabilize apoA-I. The interaction of apoA-I with ABCA1 could activate signaling molecules that modulate posttranslational ABCA1 activity or lipid transport activity. The key signaling molecules in these processes include protein kinase A (PKA), protein kinase C (PKC), Janus kinase 2 (JAK2), Rho GTPases and Ca2+, and many factors also could influence the interaction of apoA-I with ABCA1. This review will summarize these mechanisms for the apoA-I interaction with ABCA1 as well as the signal transduction pathways involved in these processes.
PMCID: PMC3320140  PMID: 22064972
5.  A novel compound inhibits rHDL assembly and blocks nascent HDL biogenesis downstream of apoAI binding to ABCA1 expressing cells 
Nascent high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles form from cellular lipids and extracellular lipid-free apolipoprotein AI (apoAI) in a process mediated by ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1). We have sought out compounds that inhibit nascent HDL biogenesis without affecting ABCA1 activity.
Methods and Results
Reconstituted HDL (rHDL) formation and cellular cholesterol efflux assays were used to show that two compounds that bond via hydrogen with phospholipids inhibit rHDL and nascent HDL production. In rHDL formation assays, the inhibitory effect of compound 1 (methyl 3α-acetoxy-7α,12α-di[(phenylaminocarbonyl)amino]-5β-cholan-24-oate), the more active of the two, depended on its ability to associate with phospholipids. In cell assays, compound 1 suppressed ABCA1-mediated cholesterol efflux to apoAI, the 18A peptide, and taurocholate with high specificity, without affecting ABCA1-independent cellular cholesterol efflux to HDL and endocytosis of acetylated low-density lipoprotein (AcLDL) and transferrin. Furthermore, compound 1 did not affect ABCA1 activity adversely, as ABCA1-mediated shedding of microparticles proceeded unabated and apoAI binding to ABCA1-expressing cells increased in its presence.
The inhibitory effects of compound 1 support a three-step model of nascent HDL biogenesis: plasma membrane remodeling by ABCA1, apoAI binding to ABCA1, and lipoprotein particle assembly. The compound inhibits the final step, causing accumulation of apoAI in ABCA1-expressing cells.
PMCID: PMC3197940  PMID: 21836073
nascent HDL; rHDL; ABCA1; apoAI; reverse cholesterol transport
6.  ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters ABCA1, ABCA7 and ABCG1 in Mouse Spermatozoa 
Mammalian spermatozoa lose plasma membrane cholesterol during their maturation in the epididymis and during their capacitation in the female reproductive tract. While acceptors such as high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and apolipoproteins A-I (apoA-I) and J have been found in male and female reproductive tracts, transporters that mediate cholesterol efflux from plasma membranes of spermatozoa to such acceptors have not yet been defined. Candidate transporters are members of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter superfamily including ABCA1, ABCA7, ABCG1 and ABCG4, which have all been implicated in the transport of sterols and phospholipids to apolipoproteins and HDL. Here we show that mouse spermatozoa in the seminiferous tubules and epididymis express ABCA1, ABCA7 and ABCG1, but not ABCG4. Moreover, we show that ABCA1, ABCA7 and ABCG1 antibodies decrease cholesterol efflux from spermatozoa to lipid acceptors apoA-I and albumin and inhibit in vitro fertilization.
PMCID: PMC2976870  PMID: 18793613
ATP-binding cassette transporters; cholesterol efflux; in vitro fertilization; sperm; mouse
7.  Hepatic ABCA1 and VLDL triglyceride production 
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta  2011;1821(5):770-777.
Elevated plasma triglyceride (TG) and reduced high density lipoprotein (HDL) concentrations are prominent features of metabolic syndrome (MS) and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Individuals with Tangier disease also have elevated plasma TG concentrations and a near absence of HDL, resulting from mutations in ATP binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1), which facilitates the efflux of cellular phospholipid and free cholesterol to assemble with apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I), forming nascent HDL particles. In this review, we summarize studies focused on the regulation of hepatic very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) TG production, with particular attention on recent evidence connecting hepatic ABCA1 expression to VLDL, LDL, and HDL metabolism. Silencing ABCA1 in McArdle rat hepatoma cells results in diminished assembly of large (>10nm) nascent HDL particles, diminished PI3 kinase activation, and increased secretion of large, TG-enriched VLDL1 particles. Hepatocyte-specific ABCA1 knockout (HSKO) mice have a similar plasma lipid phenotype as Tangier disease subjects, with a twofold elevation of plasma VLDL TG, 50% lower LDL, and 80% reduction in HDL concentrations. This lipid phenotype arises from increased hepatic secretion of VLDL1 particles, increased hepatic uptake of plasma LDL by the LDL receptor, elimination of nascent HDL particle assembly by the liver, and hypercatabolism of apoA-I by the kidney. These studies highlight a novel role for hepatic ABCA1 in the metabolism of all three major classes of plasma lipoproteins and provide a metabolic link between elevated TG and reduced HDL levels that are a common feature of Tangier disease, MS, and T2D.
PMCID: PMC3272310  PMID: 22001232
VLDL overproduction; Tangier disease; liver; metabolic syndrome; type 2 diabetes; nascent HDL; PI3 kinase; triglyceride secretion; VLDL1
8.  The effect of ABCA1 gene polymorphisms on ischaemic stroke risk and relationship with lipid profile 
BMC Medical Genetics  2007;8:30.
Ischaemic stroke is a common disorder with genetic and environmental components contributing to overall risk. Atherothromboembolic abnormalities, which play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of ischaemic stroke, are often the end result of dysregulation of lipid metabolism. The ATP Binding Cassette Transporter (ABCA1) is a key gene involved in lipid metabolism. It encodes the cholesterol regulatory efflux protein which mediates the transfer of cellular phospholipids and cholesterol to acceptor apolipoproteins such as apolipoprotein A-I (ApoA-I). Common polymorphisms in this gene affect High Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (HDL-C) and Apolipoprotein A-I levels and so influence the risk of atherosclerosis. This study has assessed the distribution of ABCA1 polymorphisms and haplotype arrangements in patients with ischaemic stroke and compared them to an appropriate control group. It also examined the relationship of these polymorphisms with serum lipid profiles in cases and controls.
We studied four common polymorphisms in ABCA1 gene: G/A-L158L, G/A-R219K, G/A-G316G and G/A-R1587K in 400 Caucasian ischaemic stroke patients and 487 controls. Dynamic Allele Specific Hybridisation (DASH) was used as the genotyping assay.
Genotype and allele frequencies of all polymorphisms were similar in cases and controls, except for a modest difference in the ABCA1 R219K allele frequency (P-value = 0.05). Using the PHASE2 program, haplotype frequencies for the four loci (158, 219, 316, and 1587) were estimated in cases and controls. There was no significant difference in overall haplotypes arrangement in patients group compared to controls (p = 0.27). 2211 and 1211 haplotypes (1 = common allele, 2 = rare allele) were more frequent in cases (p = 0.05). Adjusted ORs indicated 40% and 46% excess risk of stroke for these haplotypes respectively. However, none of the adjusted ORs were statistically significant. Individuals who had R219K "22" genotype had a higher LDL level (p = 0.001).
Our study does not support a major role for the ABCA1 gene as a risk factor for ischaemic stroke. Some haplotypes may confer a minor amount of increased risk or protection. Polymorphisms in this gene may influence serum lipid profile.
PMCID: PMC1894956  PMID: 17553166
9.  ABCA1 overexpression leads to hyperalphalipoproteinemia and increased biliary cholesterol excretion in transgenic mice 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2001;108(2):303-309.
The discovery of the ABCA1 lipid transporter has generated interest in modulating human plasma HDL levels and atherogenic risk by enhancing ABCA1 gene expression. To determine if increased ABCA1 expression modulates HDL metabolism in vivo, we generated transgenic mice that overexpress human ABCA1 (hABCA1-Tg). Hepatic and macrophage expression of hABCA1 enhanced macrophage cholesterol efflux to apoA-I; increased plasma cholesterol, cholesteryl esters (CEs), free cholesterol, phospholipids, HDL cholesterol, and apoA-I and apoB levels; and led to the accumulation of apoE-rich HDL1. ABCA1 transgene expression delayed 125I-apoA-I catabolism in both liver and kidney, leading to increased plasma apoA-I levels, but had no effect on apoB secretion after infusion of Triton WR1339. Although the plasma clearance of HDL-CE was not significantly altered in hABCA1-Tg mice, the net hepatic delivery of exogenous 3H-CEt-HDL, which is dependent on the HDL pool size, was increased 1.5-fold. In addition, the cholesterol and phospholipid concentrations in hABCA1-Tg bile were increased 1.8-fold. These studies show that steady-state overexpression of ABCA1 in vivo (a) raises plasma apoB levels without altering apoB secretion and (b) raises plasma HDL-C and apoA-I levels, facilitating hepatic reverse cholesterol transport and biliary cholesterol excretion. Similar metabolic changes may modify atherogenic risk in humans.
PMCID: PMC203026  PMID: 11457883
10.  FAMP, a Novel ApoA‐I Mimetic Peptide, Suppresses Aortic Plaque Formation Through Promotion of Biological HDL Function in ApoE‐Deficient Mice 
Apolipoprotein (apo) A‐I is a major high‐density lipoprotein (HDL) protein that causes cholesterol efflux from peripheral cells through the ATP‐binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1), thus generating HDL and reversing the macrophage foam cell phenotype. Pre‐β1 HDL is the smallest subfraction of HDL, which is believed to represent newly formed HDL, and it is the most active acceptor of free cholesterol. Furthermore it has a possible protective function against cardiovascular disease (CVD). We developed a novel apoA‐I mimetic peptide without phospholipids (Fukuoka University ApoA‐I Mimetic Peptide, FAMP).
Methods and Results
FAMP type 5 (FAMP5) had a high capacity for cholesterol efflux from A172 cells and mouse and human macrophages in vitro, and the efflux was mainly dependent on ABCA1 transporter. Incubation of FAMP5 with human HDL or whole plasma generated small HDL particles, and charged apoA‐I‐rich particles migrated as pre‐β HDL on agarose gel electrophoresis. Sixteen weeks of treatment with FAMP5 significantly suppressed aortic plaque formation (scrambled FAMP, 31.3±8.9% versus high‐dose FAMP5, 16.2±5.0%; P<0.01) and plasma C‐reactive protein and monocyte chemoattractant protein‐1 in apoE‐deficient mice fed a high‐fat diet. In addition, it significantly enhanced HDL‐mediated cholesterol efflux capacity from the mice.
A newly developed apoA‐I mimetic peptide, FAMP, has an antiatherosclerotic effect through the enhancement of the biological function of HDL. FAMP may have significant atheroprotective potential and prove to be a new therapeutic tool for CVD.
PMCID: PMC3698760  PMID: 23709562
apolipoproteins; ATP‐binding cassette transporters; HDL particle size; peptides; pre‐β HDL
11.  The Interplay between Size, Morphology, Stability, and Functionality of High-Density Lipoprotein Subclasses† 
Biochemistry  2008;47(16):4770-4779.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) mediates reverse cholesterol transport (RCT), wherein excess cholesterol is conveyed from peripheral tissues to the liver and steroidogenic organs. During this process HDL continually transitions between subclass sizes, each with unique biological activities. For instance, RCT is initiated by the interaction of lipid-free/lipid-poor apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I) with ABCA1, a membrane-associated lipid transporter, to form nascent HDL. Because nearly all circulating apoA-I is lipid-bound, the source of lipid-free/lipid-poor apoA-I is unclear. Lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) then drives the conversion of nascent HDL to spherical HDL by catalyzing cholesterol esterification, an essential step in RCT. To investigate the relationship between HDL particle size and events critical to RCT such as LCAT activation and lipid-free apoA-I production for ABCA1 interaction, we reconstituted five subclasses of HDL particles (rHDL of 7.8, 8.4, 9.6, 12.2, and 17.0 nm in diameter, respectively) using various molar ratios of 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine, free cholesterol, and apoA-I. Kinetic analyses of this comprehensive array of rHDL particles suggest that apoA-I stoichiometry in rHDL is a critical factor governing LCAT activation. Electron microscopy revealed specific morphological differences in the HDL subclasses that may affect functionality. Furthermore, stability measurements demonstrated that the previously uncharacterized 8.4 nm rHDL particles rapidly convert to 7.8 nm particles, concomitant with the dissociation of lipid-free/lipid-poor apoA-I. Thus, lipid-free/lipid-poor apoA-I generated by the remodeling of HDL may be an essential intermediate in RCT and HDL’s in vivo maturation.
PMCID: PMC2902722  PMID: 18366184
12.  Reverse Cholesterol Transport Pathway in Experimental Chronic Renal Failure 
American Journal of Nephrology  2009;30(2):147-154.
Chronic renal failure (CRF) causes oxidative stress, inflammation, oxidation of lipoproteins, impaired maturation of HDL and accelerated atherosclerosis. Uptake of oxidized lipoproteins by macrophages via scavenger receptors (scavenger receptor class A type I – SR-AI, and lectin-like oxidized LDL receptor – LOX-1) leads to foam cell formation and atherosclerosis. HDL mitigates atherosclerosis by retrieving surplus cholesterol via ATP binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) and ABCG1 transporters whose expression is regulated by liver X receptor (LXR). Free cholesterol reaching the surface of HDL is esterified by lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) and sequestered in the core of HDL, thereby maximizing cholesterol uptake. In the liver, lipid-rich HDL unloads its lipid contents via reversible binding to SR-BI while lipid-poor HDL is degraded by the holo-receptor (ATP synthase β-chain).
Expression of the above molecules involved in reverse cholesterol/lipid transport was assessed in rats 8 weeks after 5/6 nephrectomy (CRF) or sham operation.
CRF caused heavy accumulation of neutral lipids, upregulation of SR-AI, LOX-1, LXRα/β, ABCA1 and ABCG1 in the aorta, reduction in LCAT in the plasma and no significant change in either SR-BI or β-chain ATP synthase in the liver.
Lipid accumulation despite upregulation of the efflux (LXR, ABCA1, ABCG1) system in the aorta in CRF is largely due to upregulation of influx (SR-AI and LOX-1) pathway and LCAT deficiency.
PMCID: PMC2813810  PMID: 19321994
Oxidative stress; Atherosclerosis; Cardiovascular disease; Lipid disorders; Cholesterol
13.  Site-specific Oxidation of Apolipoprotein A-I Impairs Cholesterol Export by ABCA1, a Key Cardioprotective Function of HDL 
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta  2011;1821(3):490-501.
The mechanisms that deprive HDL of its cardioprotective properties are poorly understood. One potential pathway involves oxidative damage of HDL proteins by myeloperoxidase (MPO) a heme enzyme secreted by human artery wall macrophages. Mass spectrometric analysis demonstrated that levels of 3-chlorotyrosine and 3-nitrotyrosine—two characteristic products of MPO—are elevated in HDL isolated from patients with established cardiovascular disease. When apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I), the major HDL protein, is oxidized by MPO, its ability to promote cellular cholesterol efflux by the membrane-associated ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) pathway is diminished. Biochemical studies revealed that oxidation of specific tyrosine and methionine residues in apoA-I contributes to this loss of ABCA1 activity. Another potential mechanism for generating dysfunctional HDL involves covalent modification of apoA-I by reactive carbonyls, which have been implicated in atherogenesis and diabetic vascular disease. Indeed, modification of apoA-I by malondialdehyde (MDA) or acrolein also markedly impaired the lipoprotein’s ability to promote cellular cholesterol efflux by the ABCA1 pathway. Tandem mass spectrometric analyses revealed that these reactive carbonyls target specific Lys residues in the C-terminus of apoA-I. Importantly, immunochemical analyses showed that levels of MDA-protein adducts are elevated in HDL isolated from human atherosclerotic lesions. Also, apoA-I co-localized with acrolein adducts in such lesions. Thus, lipid peroxidation products might specifically modify HDL in vivo. Our observations support the hypotheses that MPO and reactive carbonyls might generate dysfunctional HDL in humans.
PMCID: PMC3288272  PMID: 22178192
Myeloperoxidase; malondialdehyde; acrolein; dysfunctional HDL; 3-chlorotyrosine; coronary artery disease
14.  Impact of HDL Oxidation by the Myeloperoxidase System on Sterol Efflux by the ABCA1 Pathway 
Journal of proteomics  2011;74(11):2289-2299.
Protein oxidation by phagocytic white blood cells is implicated in tissue injury during inflammation. One important target might be high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which protects against atherosclerosis by removing excess cholesterol from artery wall macrophages. In the human artery wall, cholesterol-laden macrophages are a rich source of myeloperoxidase (MPO), which uses hydrogen peroxide for oxidative reactions in the extracellular milieu. Levels of two characteristic products of MPO—chlorotyrosine and nitrotyrosine—are markedly elevated in HDL from human atherosclerotic lesions. Here, we describe how MPO-dependent chlorination impairs the ability of apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I), HDL’s major protein, to transport cholesterol by the ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) pathway. Faulty interactions between apoA-I and ABCA1 are involved. Tandem mass spectrometry and investigations of mutated forms of apoA-I demonstrate that tyrosine residues in apoA-I are chlorinated in a site-specific manner by chloramine intermediates on suitably juxtaposed lysine residues. Plasma HDL isolated from subjects with coronary artery disease (CAD) also contains higher levels of chlorinated and nitrated tyrosine residues than HDL from healthy subjects. Thus, the presence of chlorinated HDL might serve as a marker of CAD risk. Because HDL damaged by MPO in vitro becomes dysfunctional, inhibiting MPO in vivo might be cardioprotective.
PMCID: PMC3156866  PMID: 21501700
3-Chlorotyrosine; 3-nitrotyrosine; biomarker; apolipoprotein A-I; dysfunctional HDL; coronary artery disease
15.  Myeloperoxidase: An oxidative pathway for generating dysfunctional HDL 
Chemical research in toxicology  2010;23(3):447-454.
Accumulation of LDL-derived cholesterol by artery wall macrophages triggers atherosclerosis, the leading cause of cardiovascular disease. Conversely, HDL retards atherosclerosis by promoting cholesterol efflux from macrophages by the membrane-associated ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) pathway. HDL has been proposed to lose its cardioprotective effects in subjects with atherosclerosis, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. One potential pathway involves oxidative damage by myeloperoxidase (MPO), a heme enzyme secreted by human artery wall macrophages. We used mass spectrometry to demonstrate that HDL isolated from patients with established cardiovascular disease contains elevated levels of 3-chlorotyrosine and 3-nitrotyrosine, two characteristic products of MPO. When apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I), the major HDL protein, was oxidized by MPO, its ability to promote cellular cholesterol efflux by ABCA1 was impaired. Moreover, oxidized apoA-I was unable to activate lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT), which rapidly converts free cholesterol to cholesteryl ester, a critical step in HDL maturation. Biochemical studies implicated tyrosine chlorination and methionine oxygenation in the loss of ABCA1 and LCAT activity by oxidized apoA-I. Oxidation of specific residues in apoA-I inhibited two key steps in cholesterol efflux from macrophages, raising the possibility that MPO initiates a pathway for generating dysfunctional HDL in humans.
PMCID: PMC2838938  PMID: 20043647
reverse cholesterol transport; inflammation; hypochlorous acid; peroxynitrite; reactive nitrogen species; foam cell
16.  Adipose tissue ABCA1 contributes to HDL biogenesis in vivo 
Circulation  2011;124(15):1663-1672.
Adipose tissue (AT) is the body’s largest free cholesterol (FC) reservoir and abundantly expresses ATP binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1), a key cholesterol transporter for HDL biogenesis. However, the extent to which AT ABCA1 expression contributes to HDL biogenesis in vivo is unknown.
Methods and Results
Adipocyte-specific ABCA1 knockout mice (ABCA1−A/−A) were generated by crossing ABCA1floxed mice with aP2 cre transgenic mice. AT from ABCA1−A/−A mice had <10% of wild type (WT) ABCA1 protein expression, but normal hepatic and intestinal expression. Deletion of adipocyte ABCA1 resulted in a significant decrease in plasma HDL cholesterol (~15%) and apoA-I (~13%) concentrations. AT from ABCA1−A/−A mice had a two-fold increase in FC content, compared to WT mice, and failed to efflux cholesterol to apoA-I. However, cholesterol efflux from AT to plasma HDL was similar for both genotypes of mice. Incubation of WT AT explants with apoA-I resulted in formation of multiple discrete-sized nascent HDL particles ranging in diameter from 7.1–12 nm; similar incubations with ABCA1−A/−A AT explants resulted in nascent HDL <8 nm. Plasma decay and tissue uptake of WT 125I-HDL tracer was similar in both genotypes of recipient mice, suggesting that adipocyte ABCA1 deficiency reduces plasma HDL concentrations solely by reducing nascent HDL particle formation.
We provide in vivo evidence that AT ABCA1-dependent cholesterol efflux and nascent HDL particle formation contribute to systemic HDL biogenesis and that AT ABCA1 expression plays an important role in adipocyte cholesterol homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC3202242  PMID: 21931081
apolipoproteins; cholesterol; lipids; lipoproteins
17.  Deletion of ABCA1 and ABCG1 Impairs Macrophage Migration Because of Increased Rac1 Signaling 
Circulation research  2010;108(2):194-200.
Reduced plasma cholesterol and increased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels promote regression of atherosclerosis, in a process characterized by lipid unloading and emigration of macrophages from lesions. In contrast free cholesterol loading of macrophages leads to imbalanced Rac1/Rho activities and impaired chemotaxis.
To study the role of HDL and the ATP-binding cassette transporters ABCA1 and ABCG1 in modulating the chemotaxis of macrophages.
Methods and Results
Abca1−/−Abcg1−/− mouse macrophages displayed profoundly impaired chemotaxis both in a Transwell chamber assay and in the peritoneal cavity of wild-type (WT) mice. HDL reversed impaired chemotaxis in free cholesterol–loaded WT macrophages but was without effect in Abca1−/−Abcg1−/− cells, whereas cyclodextrin was effective in both. Abca1−/−Abcg1−/− macrophages had markedly increased Rac1 activity and increased association of Rac1 with the plasma membrane (PM). Their defective chemotaxis was reversed by a Rac1 inhibitor. To gain a better understanding of the role of transporters in PM cholesterol movement, we measured transbilayer PM sterol distribution. In WT macrophages, the majority of cholesterol was located on the inner leaflet, whereas on upregulation of transporters by liver X receptor activation, PM sterol was shifted to the outer leaflet, where it could be removed by HDL. Abca1−/−Abcg1−/− macrophages showed increased PM sterol content and defective redistribution of sterol to the outer leaflet.
Deletion of ABCA1 and ABCG1 causes an increased cholesterol content on the inner leaflet of the PM, associated with increased Rac1 PM localization, activation, and impairment of migration. ABCA1 and ABCG1 facilitate macrophage chemotaxis by promoting PM transbilayer cholesterol movement and may contribute to the ability of HDL to promote regression of atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC3097897  PMID: 21148432
ABCA1; ABCG1; migration; Rac1; HDL
18.  Apolipoprotein A-I is a selective target for myeloperoxidase-catalyzed oxidation and functional impairment in subjects with cardiovascular disease 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2004;114(4):529-541.
In recent studies we demonstrated that systemic levels of protein-bound nitrotyrosine (NO2Tyr) and myeloperoxidase (MPO), a protein that catalyzes generation of nitrating oxidants, serve as independent predictors of atherosclerotic risk, burden, and incident cardiac events. We now show both that apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I), the primary protein constituent of HDL, is a selective target for MPO-catalyzed nitration and chlorination in vivo and that MPO-catalyzed oxidation of HDL and apoA-I results in selective inhibition in ABCA1-dependent cholesterol efflux from macrophages. Dramatic selective enrichment in NO2Tyr and chlorotyrosine (ClTyr) content within apoA-I recovered from serum and human atherosclerotic lesions is noted, and analysis of serum from sequential subjects demonstrates that the NO2Tyr and ClTyr contents of apoA-I are markedly higher in individuals with cardiovascular disease (CVD). Analysis of circulating HDL further reveals that higher NO2Tyr and ClTyr contents of the lipoprotein are each significantly associated with diminished ABCA1-dependent cholesterol efflux capacity of the lipoprotein. MPO as a likely mechanism for oxidative modification of apoA-I in vivo is apparently facilitated by MPO binding to apoA-I, as revealed by cross-immunoprecipitation studies in plasma, recovery of MPO within HDL-like particles isolated from human atheroma, and identification of a probable contact site between the apoA-I moiety of HDL and MPO. To our knowledge, the present results provide the first direct evidence for apoA-I as a selective target for MPO-catalyzed oxidative modification in human atheroma. They also suggest a potential mechanism for MPO-dependent generation of a proatherogenic dysfunctional form of HDL in vivo.
PMCID: PMC503769  PMID: 15314690
19.  Abca1 Deficiency Affects Alzheimer's Disease-Like Phenotype in Human ApoE4 But Not in ApoE3-Targeted Replacement Mice 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2012;32(38):13125-13136.
ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) transporter regulates cholesterol efflux and is an essential mediator of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) formation. In amyloid precursor protein (APP) transgenic mice, Abca1 deficiency increased amyloid deposition in the brain paralleled by decreased levels of Apolipoprotein E (ApoE). The APOEε4 allele is the major genetic risk factor of sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here, we reveal the effect of Abca1 deficiency on phenotype in mice expressing human ApoE3 or ApoE4. We used APP/E3 and APP/E4 mice generated by crossing APP/PS1ΔE9 transgenic mice to human APOE3- and APOE4-targeted replacement mice and examined Abca1 gene dose effect on amyloid deposition and cognition. The results from two behavior tests demonstrate that lack of one copy of Abca1 significantly exacerbates memory deficits in APP/E4/Abca1−/+ but not in APP/E3/Abca1−/+ mice. The data for amyloid plaques and insoluble amyloid-β (Aβ) also show that Abca1 hemizygosity increases Aβ deposition only in APP/E4/Abca1−/+ but not in APP/E3/Abca1−/+ mice. Our in vivo microdialysis assays indicate that Abca1 deficiency significantly decreases Aβ clearance in ApoE4-expressing mice, while the effect of Abca1 on Aβ clearance in ApoE3-expressing mice was insignificant. In addition, we demonstrate that plasma HDL and Aβ42 levels in APP/E4/Abca1−/+ mice are significantly decreased, and there is a negative correlation between plasma HDL and amyloid plaques in brain, suggesting that plasma lipoproteins may be involved in Aβ clearance. Overall, our results prove that the presence of functional Abca1 significantly influences the phenotype of APP mice expressing human ApoE4 and further substantiate therapeutic approaches in AD based on ABCA1–APOE regulatory axis.
PMCID: PMC3646580  PMID: 22993429
20.  MicroRNA-33 Deficiency Reduces the Progression of Atherosclerotic Plaque in ApoE−/− Mice 
Cholesterol efflux from cells to apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I) acceptors via the ATP-binding cassette transporters ABCA1 and ABCG1 is thought to be central in the antiatherogenic mechanism. MicroRNA (miR)-33 is known to target ABCA1 and ABCG1 in vivo.
Methods and Results
We assessed the impact of the genetic loss of miR-33 in a mouse model of atherosclerosis. MiR-33 and apoE double-knockout mice (miR-33−/−Apoe−/−) showed an increase in circulating HDL-C levels with enhanced cholesterol efflux capacity compared with miR-33+/+Apoe−/− mice. Peritoneal macrophages from miR-33−/−Apoe−/− mice showed enhanced cholesterol efflux to apoA-I and HDL-C compared with miR-33+/+Apoe−/− macrophages. Consistent with these results, miR-33−/−Apoe−/− mice showed reductions in plaque size and lipid content. To elucidate the roles of miR-33 in blood cells, bone marrow transplantation was performed in these mice. Mice transplanted with miR-33−/−Apoe−/− bone marrow showed a significant reduction in lipid content in atherosclerotic plaque compared with mice transplanted with miR-33+/+Apoe−/− bone marrow, without an elevation of HDL-C. Some of the validated targets of miR-33 such as RIP140 (NRIP1) and CROT were upregulated in miR-33−/−Apoe−/− mice compared with miR-33+/+Apoe−/− mice, whereas CPT1a and AMPKα were not.
These data demonstrate that miR-33 deficiency serves to raise HDL-C, increase cholesterol efflux from macrophages via ABCA1 and ABCG1, and prevent the progression of atherosclerosis. Many genes are altered in miR-33-deficient mice, and detailed experiments are required to establish miR-33 targeting therapy in humans.
PMCID: PMC3540673  PMID: 23316322
ABCA1; ABCG1; atherosclerosis; HDL-C; microRNA
21.  ABCA1 and ABCG1 Protect Against Oxidative Stress–Induced Macrophage Apoptosis During Efferocytosis 
Circulation research  2010;106(12):1861-1869.
Antiatherogenic effects of plasma high-density lipoprotein (HDL) include the ability to inhibit apoptosis of macrophage foam cells. The ATP-binding cassette transporters ABCA1 and ABCG1 have a major role in promoting cholesterol efflux from macrophages to apolipoprotein A-1 and HDL and are upregulated during the phagocytosis of apoptotic cells (efferocytosis).
The goal of this study was to determine the roles of ABCA1 and ABCG1 in preserving the viability of macrophages during efferocytosis.
Methods and Results
We show that despite similar clearance of apoptotic cells, peritoneal macrophages from Abca1−/−Abcg1−/−, Abcg1−/−, and, to a lesser extent, Abca1−/− mice are much more prone to apoptosis during efferocytosis compared to wild-type cells. Similar findings were observed following incubations with oxidized phospholipids, and the ability of HDL to protect against oxidized phospholipid-induced apoptosis was markedly reduced in Abca1−/−Abcg1−/− and Abcg1−/− cells. These effects were independent of any role of ABCA1 and ABCG1 in mediating oxidized phospholipid efflux but were reversed by cyclodextrin-mediated cholesterol efflux. The apoptotic response observed in Abca1−/−Abcg1−/− macrophages after oxidized phospholipid exposure or engulfment of apoptotic cells was dependent on an excessive oxidative burst secondary to enhanced assembly of NADPH oxidase (NOX)2 complexes, leading to sustained Jnk activation which turned on the apoptotic cell death program. Increased NOX2 assembly required Toll-like receptors 2/4 and MyD88 signaling, which are known to be enhanced in transporter deficient cells in a lipid raft–dependent fashion.
We identified a new beneficial role of ABCA1, ABCG1 and HDL in dampening the oxidative burst and preserving viability of macrophages following exposure to oxidized phospholipids and/or apoptotic cells.
PMCID: PMC2995809  PMID: 20431058
ABC transporters; HDL; cholesterol; efferocytosis; oxidative stress
22.  Memory deficits in APP23/Abca1+/− mice correlate with the level of Aβ oligomers 
ASN NEURO  2009;1(2):e00006.
ABCA1, a member of the ATP-binding cassette family of transporters, lipidates ApoE (apolipoprotein A) and is essential for the generation of HDL (high-density lipoprotein)-like particles in the CNS (central nervous system). Lack of Abca1 increases amyloid deposition in several AD (Alzheimer's disease) mouse models. We hypothesized that deletion of only one copy of Abca1 in APP23 (where APP is amyloid precursor protein) AD model mice will aggravate memory deficits in these mice. Using the Morris Water Maze, we demonstrate that 2-year-old Abca1 heterozygous APP23 mice (referred to as APP23/het) have impaired learning during acquisition, and impaired memory retention during the probe trial when compared with age-matched wild-type mice (referred to as APP23/wt). As in our previous studies, the levels of ApoE in APP23/het mice were decreased, but the differences in the levels of Aβ and thioflavin-S-positive plaques between both groups were insignificant. Importantly, dot blot analysis demonstrated that APP23/het mice have a significantly higher level of soluble A11-positive Aβ (amyloid β protein) oligomers compared with APP23/wt which correlated negatively with cognitive performance. To confirm this finding, we performed immunohistochemistry with the A11 antibody, which revealed a significant increase of A11-positive oligomer structures in the CA1 region of hippocampi of APP23/het. This characteristic region-specific pattern of A11 staining was age-dependent and was missing in younger APP23 mice lacking Abca1. In contrast, the levels of Aβ*56, as well as other low-molecular-mass Aβ oligomers, were unchanged among the groups. Overall, the results of the present study demonstrate that in aged APP23 mice memory deficits depend on Abca1 and are likely to be mediated by the amount of Aβ oligomers deposited in the hippocampus.
PMCID: PMC2695585  PMID: 19570031
ABCA1; Abca1-knockout mouse; Alzheimer's disease; amyloid β protein; apolipoprotein E (ApoE); APP transgenic mouse; Aβ, amyloid β protein; ABCA1, ATP-binding cassette transporter 1; AD, Alzheimer's disease; ApoE, apolipoprotein E; APP, amyloid precursor protein; CNS, central nervous system; DAPI, 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole; GFAP, glial fibrillary acidic protein; HDL, high-density lipoprotein; LXR, liver X receptor; MWM, Morris Water Maze; PBST, PBS containing 0.2% Triton X-100; Thio-S, thioflavin S; X-34, 1,4-bis(3-carboxy-4-hydroxyphenylethenyl)-benzene
23.  A PEST sequence in ABCA1 regulates degradation by calpain protease and stabilization of ABCA1 by apoA-I 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2003;111(1):99-107.
Cholesterol-loaded macrophage foam cells are a central component of atherosclerotic lesions. ABCA1, the defective molecule in Tangier disease, mediates the efflux of phospholipids and cholesterol from cells to apoA-I, reversing foam cell formation. In ABCA1, we identified a sequence rich in proline, glutamic acid, serine, and threonine (PEST sequence) that enhances the degradation of ABCA1 by calpain protease and thereby controls the cell surface concentration and cholesterol efflux activity of ABCA1. In an apparent positive feedback loop, apoA-I binds ABCA1, promotes lipid efflux, inhibits calpain degradation, and leads to increased levels of ABCA1. ApoA-I infusion also increases ABCA1 in vivo. These studies reveal a novel mode of regulation of ABCA1 by PEST sequence–mediated calpain proteolysis that appears to be reversed by apolipoprotein-mediated phospholipid efflux. Inhibition of ABCA1 degradation by calpain could represent a novel therapeutic approach to increasing macrophage cholesterol efflux and decreasing atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC151839  PMID: 12511593
24.  SR-BI associates with ABCG1 and inhibits ABCG1-mediated cholesterol efflux from cells to high-density lipoprotein 3 
The single and combined effects of scavenger receptor-BI (SR-BI), ATP-binding cassette transporter (ABC) A1 and G1 on cholesterol efflux from Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells were investigated.
When apolipoproteinA-I (apoA-I) was used as an acceptor, ABCA1 overexpression led to an increase in total cholesterol (TC) in medium which is attributable to a 2-fold increase in free cholesterol (FC) content. When high-density lipoprotein 3 (HDL3) was used as an acceptor, SR-BI overexpression not only promoted FC efflux, but also promoted the uptake of cholesteryl ester (CE) into cells, resulting in no TC varieties in medium. Overexpression of ABCG1 increased both the FC and CE levels in medium. However, when apoA-I and HDL3 were both used as acceptors, coexpression of SR-BI has no effect on ABCA1-mediated increased FC and TC accumulation in medium. Interestingly, coexpression of SR-BI with ABCG1 blocked the ABCG1-mediated cholesterol efflux to HDL3, mostly by promoting the reuptake of CE from the medium. Furthermore, co-immunoprecipitation experiments revealed that SR-BI interacted with ABCG1 in BHK cells overexpressing ABCG1 and SR-BI.
We found SR-BI associates with ABCG1 and inhibits ABCG1-mediated cholesterol efflux from cells to HDL3.
PMCID: PMC3512508  PMID: 22984960
25.  Factors controlling nascent high-density lipoprotein particle heterogeneity: ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 activity and cell lipid and apolipoprotein AI availability 
The FASEB Journal  2013;27(7):2880-2892.
Nascent high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles arise in different sizes. We have sought to uncover factors that control this size heterogeneity. Gel filtration, native PAGE, and protein cross-linking were used to analyze the size heterogeneity of nascent HDL produced by BHK-ABCA1, RAW 264.7, J774, and HepG2 cells under different levels of two factors considered as a ratio, the availability of apolipoprotein AI (apoAI) -accessible cell lipid, and concentration of extracellular lipid-free apoAI. Increases in the available cell lipid:apoAI ratio due to either elevated ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) expression and activity or raised cell density (i.e., increasing numerator) shifted the production of nascent HDL from smaller particles with fewer apoAI molecules per particle and fewer molecules of choline-phospholipid and cholesterol per apoAI molecule to larger particles that contained more apoAI and more lipid per molecule of apoAI. A further shift to larger particles was observed in BHK-ABCA1 cells when the available cell lipid:apoAI ratio was raised still higher by decreasing the apoAI concentration (i.e., the denominator). These changes in nascent HDL biogenesis were reminiscent of the transition that occurs in the size composition of reconstituted HDL in response to an increasing initial lipid:apoAI molar ratio. Thus, the ratio of available cell lipid:apoAI is a fundamental cause of nascent HDL size heterogeneity, and rHDL formation is a good model of nascent HDL biogenesis.—Lyssenko, N. N., Nickel, M., Tang, C., Phillips, M. C. Factors controlling nascent high-density lipoprotein particle heterogeneity: ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 activity and cell lipid and apolipoprotein AI availability.
PMCID: PMC3688743  PMID: 23543682
macrophage reverse cholesterol transport; HDL quality; reconstituted HDL; discoidal HDL

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