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Biochemistry. 2013 Dec 31;52(52):9497-509. doi: 10.1021/bi401285j. Epub 2013 Dec 18.

Characterization of the role of a highly conserved sequence in ATP binding cassette transporter G (ABCG) family in ABCG1 stability, oligomerization, and trafficking.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics and Group on the Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids, ‡Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta , Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2S2, Canada.


ATP-binding cassette transporter G1 (ABCG1) mediates cholesterol and oxysterol efflux onto lipidated lipoproteins and plays an important role in macrophage reverse cholesterol transport. Here, we identified a highly conserved sequence present in the five ABCG transporter family members. The conserved sequence is located between the nucleotide binding domain and the transmembrane domain and contains five amino acid residues from Asn at position 316 to Phe at position 320 in ABCG1 (NPADF). We found that cells expressing mutant ABCG1, in which Asn316, Pro317, Asp319, and Phe320 in the conserved sequence were replaced with Ala simultaneously, showed impaired cholesterol efflux activity compared with wild type ABCG1-expressing cells. A more detailed mutagenesis study revealed that mutation of Asn316 or Phe 320 to Ala significantly reduced cellular cholesterol and 7-ketocholesterol efflux conferred by ABCG1, whereas replacement of Pro317 or Asp319 with Ala had no detectable effect. To confirm the important role of Asn316 and Phe320, we mutated Asn316 to Asp (N316D) and Gln (N316Q), and Phe320 to Ile (F320I) and Tyr (F320Y). The mutant F320Y showed the same phenotype as wild type ABCG1. However, the efflux of cholesterol and 7-ketocholesterol was reduced in cells expressing ABCG1 mutant N316D, N316Q, or F320I compared with wild type ABCG1. Further, mutations N316Q and F320I impaired ABCG1 trafficking while having no marked effect on the stability and oligomerization of ABCG1. The mutant N316Q and F320I could not be transported to the cell surface efficiently. Instead, the mutant proteins were mainly localized intracellularly. Thus, these findings indicate that the two highly conserved amino acid residues, Asn and Phe, play an important role in ABCG1-dependent export of cellular cholesterol, mainly through the regulation of ABCG1 trafficking.

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