ABCA12 is involved in the transport of ceramides in skin, but it may play a wider role in lipid metabolism. We show that, in Abca12-deficient macrophages, cholesterol efflux failed to respond to activation with LXR agonists. Abca12 deficiency caused a reduction in the abundance of Abca1, Abcg1, and Lxrβ. Overexpression of Lxrβ reversed the effects. Mechanistically, Abca12 deficiency did not affect expression of genes involved in cholesterol metabolism. Instead, a physical association between Abca1, Abca12, and Lxrβ proteins was established. Abca12 deficiency enhanced interaction between Abca1 and Lxrβ and the degradation of Abca1. Overexpression of ABCA12 in HeLa-ABCA1 cells increased the abundance and stability of ABCA1. Abca12 deficiency caused an accumulation of cholesterol in macrophages and the formation of foam cells, impaired reverse cholesterol transport in vivo, and increased the development of atherosclerosis in irradiated Apoe(-/-) mice reconstituted with Apoe(-/-)Abca12(-/-) bone marrow. Thus, ABCA12 regulates the cellular cholesterol metabolism via an LXRβ-dependent posttranscriptional mechanism.
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