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J Biol Chem. 2000 May 12;275(19):14700-7.

Human white/murine ABC8 mRNA levels are highly induced in lipid-loaded macrophages. A transcriptional role for specific oxysterols.

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  • 1Department of Biological Chemistry and Medicine and the Molecular Biology Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.


To identify genes that are transcriptionally activated when human macrophages accumulate excess lipids, we employed the mRNA differential display technique using RNA isolated from human monocyte-macrophages incubated in the absence or presence of acetylated low density lipoprotein and sterols (cholesterol and 25-hydroxycholesterol). These studies identified a mRNA whose levels were highly induced in lipid-loaded macrophages. The mRNA encoded the human White protein, a member of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter superfamily of proteins. The mRNA levels of ABC8, the murine homolog of the human white gene, were also induced when a murine macrophage cell line, RAW264.7, was incubated with acetylated low density lipoprotein and sterols. Additional studies demonstrated that white/ABC8 mRNA levels were induced by specific oxysterols that included 25-, 20(S)-, and 22(R)-hydroxycholesterol, and by a retinoid X receptor-specific ligand. Furthermore, the oxysterol-mediated induction of ABC8 expression in mouse peritoneal macrophages was dependent on the presence of the nuclear oxysterol receptors, liver X receptors (LXRs). Macrophages derived from mice lacking both LXRalpha and LXRbeta failed to up-regulate the expression of ABC8 following incubation with 22(R)-hydroxycholesterol. Oxysterol-dependent induction of white/ABC8 mRNA was blocked by actinomycin D but not by cycloheximide treatment of cells. We conclude that the white and ABC8 genes are primary response genes that are transcriptionally activated by specific oxysterols and that this induction is mediated by the LXR subfamily of nuclear hormone receptors. These data strongly support the hypothesis that white/ABC8 has a role in cellular sterol homeostasis.

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