Sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP) transcription factors are central regulators of cellular lipogenesis. Release of membrane-bound SREBP requires SREBP cleavage-activating protein (SCAP) to escort SREBP from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to the Golgi for cleavage by site-1 and site-2 proteases. SCAP then recycles to the ER for additional rounds of SREBP binding and transport. Mechanisms regulating ER-to-Golgi transport of SCAP-SREBP are understood in molecular detail, but little is known about SCAP recycling. Here, we have demonstrated that SCAP Golgi-to-ER transport requires cleavage of SREBP at site-1. Reductions in SREBP cleavage lead to SCAP degradation in lysosomes, providing additional negative feedback control to the SREBP pathway. Current models suggest that SREBP plays a passive role prior to cleavage. However, we show that SREBP actively prevents premature recycling of SCAP-SREBP until initiation of SREBP cleavage. SREBP regulates SCAP in human cells and yeast, indicating that this is an ancient regulatory mechanism.
Keywords: Cholesterol; Lipids; Lysosomes; Protein Degradation; Recycling; SCAP; SREBP; Transcription Factors.