Background: ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 mediates apolipoprotein AI-dependent efflux of cholesterol and thereby removes cholesterol from peripheral tissues. ABCA1 expression is tightly regulated and deficiency of this cholesterol transporter results in cholesterol accumulation within cells. Low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 (LRP1) participates in lipid metabolism and energy homeostasis by endocytosis of apolipoprotein E-containing lipoproteins and modulation of cellular proliferation signals.
Methods and principal findings: In the present study, we demonstrate a new role for LRP1 in reverse cholesterol transport. Absence of LRP1 expression results in increased PDGFRbeta signaling and sequential activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway, which increases phosphorylation of cytosolic phospholipase A(2) (cPLA(2)). Phosphorylated and activated cPLA(2) releases arachidonic acid from the phospholipid pool. Overproduction of arachidonic acid suppresses the activation of LXR/RXR heterodimers bound to the promoter of LXR regulated genes such as ABCA1, resulting in greatly reduced ABCA1 expression.
Conclusions and significance: LRP1 regulates LXR-mediated gene transcription and participates in reverse cholesterol transport by controlling cPLA(2) activation and ABCA1 expression. LRP1 thus functions as a physiological integrator of cellular lipid homeostasis with signals that regulate cellular proliferation and vascular wall integrity.