Intracellular cholesterol transport in synchronized human skin fibroblasts

Biochemistry. 1999 Feb 23;38(8):2506-13. doi: 10.1021/bi981012o.


Normal human skin fibroblasts maintained in serum-containing medium were synchronized with aphidicolin. After removal of inhibitor, free cholesterol (FC) homeostasis was determined at intervals during the following cell cycle. FC mass per cell doubled following S-phase, and reached its maximum well before mitosis. This increase was mainly the result of stimulation of the rate of selective uptake of FC from medium lipoproteins, and reduction of FC efflux. Rates of cholesterol synthesis, endocytosis of intact low-density lipoprotein, and HDL receptor (CLA-1) activity were relatively low and little changed during the cell cycle. The expression of caveolin (structural protein of cell surface caveolae) and caveolar FC were decreased along with FC efflux. To test the hypothesis that regulation of caveolin expression could contribute to changes in FC efflux during cell division, cells were transfected with human caveolin cDNA, synchronized with aphidicolin, and then allowed to divide. In the transfected cells, caveolar FC and FC efflux were both increased. FC accumulation and entry into mitosis were markedly inhibited compared to controls. The contribution of transcriptional regulation to caveolin mRNA levels was determined with a 705 bp caveolin 5'-flanking sequence ligated to the pGL3 luciferase expression vector. Expression of the reporter gene was downregulated at S-phase of synchronized cells. Deletion of a hybrid E2F/ Sp1-like site between -139 and -150 bp abolished this downregulation. These data are consistent with a role for caveolin in cell cycle kinetics, which may be mediated, at least in part, at the transcriptional level.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport / genetics
  • Caveolin 1
  • Caveolins*
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Division / genetics
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cholesterol / metabolism*
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism*
  • Fibroblasts / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Fluid / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Membrane Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Mitosis / genetics
  • Skin / cytology
  • Time Factors
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Transfection


  • CAV1 protein, human
  • Caveolin 1
  • Caveolins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Cholesterol