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J Biol Chem. 2005 Nov 25;280(47):39653-64. Epub 2005 Sep 28.

Purification of ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 and associated binding proteins reveals the importance of beta1-syntrophin in cholesterol efflux.

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  • 1Lipid Metabolism Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.


ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) plays a critical role in HDL cholesterol metabolism, but the mechanism by which it transports lipid across membranes is poorly understood. Because growing evidence implicates accessory proteins in this process, we developed a method by which proteins interacting with the intact transporter could be identified. cDNAs encoding wild-type ABCA1 and a mutant lacking the C-terminal PDZ binding motif of ABCA1 were transfected into 293 cells, and the expressed proteins were solubilized using detergent conditions (0.75% CHAPS, 1 mg/ml phosphatidylcholine) predicted to retain high affinity protein-protein interactions. Proteins that co-purified with ABCA1 on an antibody affinity column were identified by liquid chromatographymass spectrometric analysis. A novel interaction with the PDZ protein beta1-syntrophin was identified using this approach, and this interaction was confirmed in human THP-1 macrophages and in mouse liver. Small interference RNA inhibition of beta1-syntrophin expression reduced cholesterol efflux from primary skin fibroblasts by 50% while decreasing efflux 30% in bone marrow-derived macrophages. Inhibition of beta1-syntrophin decreased ABCA1 protein levels, whereas overexpression of beta1-syntrophin increased ABCA1 cell-surface expression and stimulated efflux to apolipoprotein A-I. These findings indicate that beta1-syntrophin acts through a class-I PDZ interaction with the C terminus of ABCA1 to regulate the cellular distribution and activity of the transporter. The approach used to identify beta1-syntrophin as an ABCA1-binding protein should prove useful in elucidating other protein interactions upon which ABCA1 function depends.

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