[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ATP binding cassette transporter A-1 (ABCA1) is critical for apolipoprotein-mediated cholesterol efflux, an important mechanism employed by macrophages to avoid becoming lipid-laden foam cells, the hallmark of early atherosclerotic lesions. It has been proposed that lipid-free apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I) enters the cell and is resecreted as a lipidated particle via a retroendocytosis pathway during ABCA1-mediated cholesterol efflux from macrophages. To determine the functional importance of such a pathway, confocal microscopy was used to characterize the internalization of a fully functional apoA-I cysteine mutant containing a thiol-reactive fluorescent probe in cultured macrophages. ApoA-I was also endogenously labeled with (35)S-methionine to quantify cellular uptake and to determine the metabolic fate of the internalized protein. It was found that apoA-I was specifically taken inside macrophages and that a small amount of intact apoA-I was resecreted from the cells. However, a majority of the label that reappeared in the media was degraded. We estimate that the mass of apoA-I retroendocytosed is not sufficient to account for the HDL produced by the cholesterol efflux reaction. Furthermore, we have demonstrated that lipid-free apoA-I-mediated cholesterol efflux from macrophages can be pharmacologically uncoupled from apoA-I internalization into cells. On the basis these findings, we present a model in which the ABCA1-mediated lipid transfer process occurs primarily at the membrane surface in macrophages, but still accounts for the observed specific internalization of apoA-I.
The Journal of Lipid Research 07/2008; 49(6):1322-32. · 4.39 Impact Factor