Triciribine increases LDLR expression and LDL uptake through stabilization of LDLR mRNA

Sci Rep. 2018 Nov 1;8(1):16174. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-34237-6.


Low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) is a key regulator of the metabolism of plasma low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), the elevated levels of which are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Therefore, enhancing LDLR expression represents a potent treatment strategy for hypercholesterolemia. Here, we report that in cultured human hepatoma cells, triciribine, a highly selective AKT inhibitor, increases the stability of LDLR mRNA, an event that translates into upregulation of cell-surface LDLR levels and induction of cellular LDL uptake. This effect of triciribine requires ERK activity and is partially dependent on the intervening sequence between the AU-rich elements ARE3 and ARE4 in LDLR 3'UTR. We also show that triciribine downregulates the expression of PCSK9 mRNA and blunts the secretion of its protein. Notably, triciribine was found to potentiate the effect of mevastatin on LDLR protein levels and activity. We also show that primary human hepatocytes respond to triciribine by increasing the expression of LDLR. Furthermore, a pilot experiment with mice revealed that a two-weeks treatment with triciribine significantly induced the hepatic expression of LDLR protein. These results identify triciribine as a novel LDLR-elevating agent and warrant further examination of its potential as a hypocholesterolemic drug either as monotherapy or in combination with statins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AU Rich Elements / genetics
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cholesterol, LDL / genetics*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Hepatocytes / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / drug therapy*
  • Hypercholesterolemia / genetics
  • Hypercholesterolemia / metabolism
  • Hypercholesterolemia / pathology
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Primary Cell Culture
  • Proprotein Convertase 9 / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / antagonists & inhibitors
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Receptors, LDL / genetics*
  • Ribonucleosides / administration & dosage*


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • LDLR protein, human
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, LDL
  • Ribonucleosides
  • triciribine
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • PCSK9 protein, human
  • Proprotein Convertase 9