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Dev Cell. 2013 Nov 11;27(3):249-62. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2013.09.016. Epub 2013 Oct 24.

LDL cholesterol recycles to the plasma membrane via a Rab8a-Myosin5b-actin-dependent membrane transport route.

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Institute of Biomedicine, Anatomy, University of Helsinki, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland; Minerva Foundation Institute for Medical Research, FI-00290 Helsinki, Finland.


Mammalian cells acquire cholesterol, a major membrane constituent, via low-density lipoprotein (LDL) uptake. However, the mechanisms by which LDL cholesterol reaches the plasma membrane (PM) have remained obscure. Here, we applied LDL labeled with BODIPY cholesteryl linoleate to identify this pathway in living cells. The egress of BODIPY cholesterol (BC) from late endosomal (LE) organelles was dependent on acid lipase and Niemann-Pick C1 (NPC1) protein, as for natural cholesterol. We show that NPC1 was needed to recruit Rab8a to BC-containing LEs, and Rab8a enhanced the motility and segregation of BC- and CD63-positive organelles from lysosomes. The BC carriers docked to the cortical actin by a Rab8a- and Myosin5b (Myo5b)-dependent mechanism, typically in the proximity of focal adhesions (FAs). LDL increased the number and dynamics of FAs and stimulated cell migration in an acid lipase, NPC1, and Rab8a-dependent fashion, providing evidence that this cholesterol delivery route to the PM is important for cell movement.

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