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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2013 Dec;33(12):2724-32. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.113.302004. Epub 2013 Oct 17.

Regulation of ABCA1 protein expression and function in hepatic and pancreatic islet cells by miR-145.

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From the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.



The ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) protein maintains cellular cholesterol homeostasis in several different tissues. In the liver, ABCA1 is crucial for high-density lipoprotein biogenesis, and in the pancreas ABCA1 can regulate insulin secretion. In this study, our aim was to identify novel microRNAs that regulate ABCA1 expression in these tissues.


We combined multiple microRNA prediction programs to identify 8 microRNAs that potentially regulate ABCA1. A luciferase reporter assay demonstrated that 5 of these microRNAs (miR-148, miR-27, miR-144, miR-145, and miR-33a/33b) significantly repressed ABCA1 3'-untranslated region activity with miR-145 resulting in one of the larger decreases. In hepatic HepG2 cells, miR-145 can regulate both ABCA1 protein expression levels and cholesterol efflux function. In murine islets, an increase in miR-145 expression decreased ABCA1 protein expression, increased total islet cholesterol levels, and decreased glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. Inhibiting miR-145 produced the opposite effect of increasing ABCA1 protein levels and improving glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. Finally, increased glucose levels in media significantly decreased miR-145 levels in cultured pancreatic beta cells. These findings suggest that miR-145 is involved in glucose homeostasis and is regulated by glucose concentration.


Our studies demonstrate that miR-145 regulates ABCA1 expression and function, and inhibiting this microRNA represents a novel strategy for increasing ABCA1 expression, promoting high-density lipoprotein biogenesis in the liver, and improving glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in islets.


ABCA1 protein; cholesterol efflux regulatory protein; lipid metabolism; microRNAs

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