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Cell Metab. 2006 Jan;3(1):15-24.

Sterol-regulated ubiquitination and degradation of Insig-1 creates a convergent mechanism for feedback control of cholesterol synthesis and uptake.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas 75390, USA.


This paper describes a convergent mechanism for the feedback control of cholesterol synthesis and uptake mediated by SREBPs, membrane bound transcription factors. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) bound SREBPs form complexes with Scap, a polytopic ER protein. In sterol-overloaded cells, Scap/SREBP binds to Insig-1, which retains the complex in the ER. Upon sterol deprivation, the Scap/SREBP complex dissociates from Insig-1, which is then ubiquitinated on lysines 156 and 158 and degraded in proteasomes. Scap/SREBP moves to the Golgi, where SREBP is processed to liberate a nuclear fragment that activates genes for cholesterol synthesis and uptake and the gene for Insig-1. Ubiquitination is not necessary for release of Scap/SREBP from Insig-1, but it establishes a requirement for synthesis of new Insig-1 for feedback inhibition. When the new Insig-1 and cholesterol converge on Scap, Scap/SREBP binds to Insig-1, preventing ubiquitination. The Insig-1/Scap/SREBP complex accumulates in the ER, ready for liberation when the cell is again sterol deprived.

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