ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) is a cholesterol transporter that transfers excess cellular cholesterol onto lipid-poor apolipoproteins. Given its critical role in cholesterol homeostasis, ABCA1 has been studied as a therapeutic target for Alzheimer's disease. Transcriptional regulation of ABCA1 by liver X receptor has been well characterized. However, whether ABCA1 expression is regulated at the posttranscriptional level is largely unknown. Identification of a novel pathway that regulates ABCA1 expression may provide new strategy for regulating cholesterol metabolism and amyloid β (Aβ) levels. Since ABCA1 has an unusually long 3' untranslated region, we investigated whether microRNAs could regulate ABCA1 expression. We identified miR-106b as a novel regulator of ABCA1 expression and Aβ metabolism. miR-106b significantly decreased ABCA1 levels and impaired cellular cholesterol efflux in neuronal cells. Furthermore, miR-106b dramatically increased levels of secreted Aβ by increasing Aβ production and preventing Aβ clearance. Alterations in Aβ production and clearance were rescued by expression of miR-106b-resistant ABCA1. Taken together, our data suggest that miR-106b affects Aβ metabolism by suppressing ABCA1 expression.
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