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J Biol Chem. 2005 Oct 28;280(43):35896-903. Epub 2005 Aug 23.

Unsaturated fatty acids phosphorylate and destabilize ABCA1 through a phospholipase D2 pathway.

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Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.


Abnormal high density lipoprotein (HDL) metabolism among patients with diabetes and insulin resistance may contribute to their increased risk of atherosclerosis. ATP-binding cassette transporter ABCA1 mediates the transport of cholesterol and phospholipids from cells to HDL apolipoproteins and thus modulates HDL levels and atherogenesis. Unsaturated fatty acids, which are elevated in diabetes, impair the ABCA1 pathway in cultured cells by destabilizing ABCA1 protein. Here we examined the cellular pathway that mediates the ABCA1 destabilizing effects of fatty acids. The long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase inhibitor triacsin C completely reversed fatty acid-induced ABCA1 destabilization, indicating that fatty acids need to be activated to their CoA derivatives to enhance ABCA1 degradation. Unsaturated but not saturated fatty acids stimulated phospholipase D (PLD) activity, the PLD inhibitor 1-butanol prevented the unsaturated fatty acid-induced reduction in ABCA1 levels, and the PLD2 activator mastoparan markedly reduced ABCA1 protein levels, implicating a role for PLD2 in the ABCA1 destabilizing effects of fatty acids. Unsaturated fatty acids and mastoparan increased phosphorylation of ABCA1 serines. PLD2 small interfering RNA abolished the ability of unsaturated fatty acids to inhibit lipid transport activity, to reduce protein levels, and to increase serine phosphorylation of ABCA1. The diacylglycerol analog oleoylacetylglycerol also reduced ABCA1 protein levels and increased its serine phosphorylation, suggesting that PLD2-generated diacylglycerols promote the destabilizing phosphorylation of ABCA1. These data provide evidence that intracellular unsaturated acyl-CoA derivatives destabilize ABCA1 by activating a PLD2 signaling pathway.

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