Cholesterol in signal transduction

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2000 Apr;12(2):193-203. doi: 10.1016/s0955-0674(99)00076-9.


Membrane cholesterol impinges on signal transduction in several ways, which is highlighted in particular by the Hedgehog signaling pathway. In Hedgehog signaling, cholesterol is important for ligand biogenesis, as well as for signal transduction in receiving cells. Hedgehog ligands are post-translationally modified by cholesterol, and the Hedgehog receptor, Patched, is structurally similar to the Niemann-Pick C1 protein, which functions in intracellular lipid transport. Although the exact role of cholesterol in Hedgehog signal transduction remains elusive and is probably multifaceted, studies over the past year have implicated raft membrane subdomains, cholesterol transport and a link between protein and lipid trafficking in endocytic compartments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Carrier Proteins*
  • Caveolin 1
  • Caveolins*
  • Cholesterol / metabolism*
  • Endocytosis / physiology
  • Glycosphingolipids / metabolism
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Membrane Glycoproteins*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Trans-Activators*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Caveolin 1
  • Caveolins
  • Glycosphingolipids
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • NPC1 protein, human
  • Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • Cholesterol