Inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis by Delta22-unsaturated phytosterols via competitive inhibition of sterol Delta24-reductase in mammalian cells.
ABSTRACT: Dietary phytosterols are cholesterol-lowering agents that interfere with the intestinal absorption of cholesterol. In the present study, we have studied their effects on cholesterol biosynthesis in human cells, particularly in the sterol-conversion pathway. For this, both Caco-2 (intestinal mucosa) and HL-60 (promyelocytic) human cell lines were incubated with [(14)C]acetate, and the incorporation of radioactivity into sterols was determined using HPLC and radioactivity detection online. Sterols containing a double bond at C-22 in the side chain (stigmasterol, brassicasterol and ergosterol) dramatically inhibited the activity of sterol Delta(24)-reductase, as indicated by the decrease in radioactivity incorporation into cholesterol and the accumulation of its precursors (mainly desmosterol). Phytosterols with the saturated side chain (beta-sitosterol and campesterol) were inactive in this regard. The inhibition of sterol (24)-reductase was confirmed in rat liver microsomes by using (14)C-labelled desmosterol as the substrate. The (22)-unsaturated phytosterols acted as competitive inhibitors of sterol (24)-reductase, with K(i) values (41.1, 42.7 and 36.8 microM for stigmasterol, brassicasterol and ergosterol respectively) similar to the estimated K(m) for desmosterol (26.3 microM). The sterol 5,22-cholestedien-3beta-ol, an unusual desmosterol isomer that lacks the alkyl groups characteristic of phytosterols, acted as a much stronger inhibitor of (24)-reductase (K(i)=3.34 microM). The usually low intracellular concentrations of the physiological substrates of (24)-reductase explains the strong inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis that these compounds exert in cells. Given that inhibition of sterol (24)-reductase was achieved at physiologically relevant concentrations, it may represent an additional mechanism for the cholesterol-lowering action of phytosterols, and opens up the possibility of using certain (22)-unsaturated sterols as effective hypocholesterolaemic agents.
Project description:Sterols are essential nutrients for insects because, in contrast to mammals, no insect (or arthropod for that matter) can synthesize sterols de novo. Cholesterol is the most common sterol in insects, but it is not found in plants in large quantities; plant-feeding insects typically generate their cholesterol by metabolizing phytosterols. However, different plants species can contain different types of phytosterols, and some phytosterols are not readily converted to cholesterol. In this study we examined, using artificial diets containing single sterols, how typical (cholesterol and stigmasterol) and atypical (cholestanol and cholestanone) sterols/steroids affect the performance of a generalist caterpillar (Helicoverpa zea), restricting this analysis to midgut tissue because this is where sterol/steroid absorption occurs, and the midgut is the putative site of dietary sterol/steroid metabolism. In general, H. zea performed best on the cholesterol and stigmasterol treatments; performance was reduced on cholestanol, and was very poor on cholestanone. We compared the transcript profiles of larval guts in response to differentially suitable sterols, using the optimal sterol, cholesterol, as a control, using a two-color reference design microarray experiment. Midgut gene expression patterns differed between the treatments; relative to cholesterol, differences were lowest on the stigmasterol treatment, intermediate on the cholestanol treatment, and greatest on the cholestanone treatment. Transcriptional profiling comparing Helicoverpa zea gut tissue from third instar larvae exposed to four different dietary sterols, namely Cholesterol (CON), Cholestanol (ChStanol), Cholestan-3-one (Ch3one) and Stigmasterol (Stigma). Two-color reference design. Biological replicates: 4 (5 individuals per replicate). 12 samples total.
Project description:We have investigated the effect of cholesterol and two abundant phytosterols (sitosterol and stigmasterol) on the voltage-dependent anion-selective channel (VDAC) purified from mitochondria of bean seeds (Phaseolus coccineus). These sterols differ by the degree of freedom of their lateral chain. We show that VDAC displays sensitivity to the lipid-sterol ratio and to the type of sterol found in the membrane. The main findings of this study are: 1), cholesterol and phytosterols modulate the selectivity but only stigmasterol alters the voltage-dependence of the plant VDAC in the range of sterol fraction found in the plant mitochondrial membrane; 2), VDAC unitary conductance is not affected by the addition of sterols; 3), the effect of sterols on the VDAC is reversible upon sterol depletion with 10 ?M methyl-?-cyclodextrins; and 4), phytosterols are essential for the channel gating at salt concentration prevailing in vivo. A quantitative analysis of the voltage-dependence indicates that stigmasterol inhibits the transition of the VDAC in the lowest subconductance states.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Ergosterol has been considered the "fungal sterol" for almost 125 years; however, additional sterol data superimposed on a recent molecular phylogeny of kingdom Fungi reveals a different and more complex situation. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The interpretation of sterol distribution data in a modern phylogenetic context indicates that there is a clear trend from cholesterol and other Delta(5) sterols in the earliest diverging fungal species to ergosterol in later diverging fungi. There are, however, deviations from this pattern in certain clades. Sterols of the diverse zoosporic and zygosporic forms exhibit structural diversity with cholesterol and 24-ethyl -Delta(5) sterols in zoosporic taxa, and 24-methyl sterols in zygosporic fungi. For example, each of the three monophyletic lineages of zygosporic fungi has distinctive major sterols, ergosterol in Mucorales, 22-dihydroergosterol in Dimargaritales, Harpellales, and Kickxellales (DHK clade), and 24-methyl cholesterol in Entomophthorales. Other departures from ergosterol as the dominant sterol include: 24-ethyl cholesterol in Glomeromycota, 24-ethyl cholest-7-enol and 24-ethyl-cholesta-7,24(28)-dienol in rust fungi, brassicasterol in Taphrinales and hypogeous pezizalean species, and cholesterol in Pneumocystis. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Five dominant end products of sterol biosynthesis (cholesterol, ergosterol, 24-methyl cholesterol, 24-ethyl cholesterol, brassicasterol), and intermediates in the formation of 24-ethyl cholesterol, are major sterols in 175 species of Fungi. Although most fungi in the most speciose clades have ergosterol as a major sterol, sterols are more varied than currently understood, and their distribution supports certain clades of Fungi in current fungal phylogenies. In addition to the intellectual importance of understanding evolution of sterol synthesis in fungi, there is practical importance because certain antifungal drugs (e.g., azoles) target reactions in the synthesis of ergosterol. These findings also invalidate use of ergosterol as an indicator of biomass of certain fungal taxa (e.g., Glomeromycota). Data from this study are available from the Assembling the Fungal Tree of Life (AFTOL) Structural and Biochemical Database: http://aftol.umn.edu.
Project description:The structural features of sterols required to support mammalian cell growth have not been fully defined. Here, we use mutant CHO cells that synthesize only small amounts of cholesterol to test the capacity of various sterols to support growth. Sterols with minor modifications of the side chain (e.g., campesterol, beta-sitosterol, and desmosterol) supported long-term growth of mutant cells, but sterols with more complex modifications of the side chain, the sterol nucleus, or the 3-hydroxy group did not. After 60 days in culture, the exogenous sterol comprised >90% of cellular sterols. Inactivation of residual endogenous synthesis with the squalene epoxidase inhibitor NB-598 prevented growth in beta-sitosterol and greatly reduced growth in campesterol. Growth of cells cultured in beta-sitosterol and NB-598 was restored by adding small amounts of cholesterol to the medium. Surprisingly, enantiomeric cholesterol also supported cell growth, even in the presence of NB-598. Thus, sterols fulfill two roles in mammalian cells: (i) a bulk membrane requirement in which phytosterols can substitute for cholesterol and (ii) other processes that specifically require small amounts of cholesterol but are not enantioselective.
Project description:Sterols are essential components of the cell membrane lipid bilayer that include molecules such as cholesterol and desmosterol, which are significantly found in the spermatozoa of several animal species. However, the presence of desmosterol in rabbit semen has never been investigated. The aims of this study were to characterize the sterol composition of subfractions of ejaculated rabbit semen and evaluate the in vitro effects of sterol on the spermatozoa acrosome reaction and motility. Two sterols, occurring prevalently in the free form (94.3%), were identified in whole semen collected from 10 fertile New Zealand White rabbits, specifically desmosterol (58.5% of total sterols) and cholesterol (35.9% of total sterols). Desmosterol was the predominant sterol found in all subfractions of rabbit semen, varying from 56.7% (in the prostatic secretory granules, PSGs) to 63.8% (in the seminal plasma). Spermatozoa contained an intermediate proportion of desmosterol (59.8%), which was asymmetrically distributed between the heads (52.0% of the total content of sterols) and the tails (81.8%). Results showed that both desmosterol and cholesterol can be transferred from the PSGs to the spermatozoa and are equally effective in inhibiting in vitro spermatozoa capacitation at a concentration higher than 1 mg L(-1). In contrast, neither desmosterol nor cholesterol had a significant effect on spermatozoa motility. Thus, it was concluded that, the various fractions of rabbit seminal fluid differ from each other in sterol composition and quantity, probably due to their different functional properties, and these fractions may undergo significant sterol changes depending on the stage of spermatozoa capacitation.
Project description:Most species of invertebrate animals cannot synthesise sterols de novo and many that feed on plants dealkylate phytosterols (mostly C(29) and C(28)) yielding cholesterol (C(27)). The final step of this dealkylation pathway involves desmosterol reductase (DHCR24)-catalysed reduction of desmosterol to cholesterol. We now report the molecular characterisation in the silkworm, Bombyx mori, of such a desmosterol reductase involved in production of cholesterol from phytosterol, rather than in de novo synthesis of cholesterol. Phylogenomic analysis of putative desmosterol reductases revealed the occurrence of various clades that allowed for the identification of a strong reductase candidate gene in Bombyx mori (BGIBMGA 005735). Following PCR-based cloning of the cDNA (1.6 kb) and its heterologous expression in Saccharomyces cerevisae, the recombinant protein catalysed reduction of desmosterol to cholesterol in an NADH- and FAD-dependent reaction.Conceptual translation of the cDNA, that encodes a 58.9 kDa protein, and database searching, revealed that the enzyme belongs to an FAD-dependent oxidoreductase family. Western blotting revealed reductase protein expression exclusively in the microsomal subcellular fraction and primarily in the gut. The protein is peripherally associated with microsomal membranes. 2D-native gel and PAGE analysis revealed that the reductase is part of a large complex with molecular weight approximately 250 kDa. The protein occurs in midgut microsomes at a fairly constant level throughout development in the last two instars, but is drastically reduced during the wandering stage in preparation for metamorphosis. Putative Broad Complex transcription factor-binding sites detectable upstream of the DHCR24 gene may play a role in this down-regulation.
Project description:Triparanol [2-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(4-diethylaminoethoxyphenyl)-1-p-tolylethanol] at a concentration of 2 micronm has no effect on the overall conversion of [2=14C]acetate into C27 sterols by isolated liver cells. In the presence of triparanol, however, the formation of radioactive cholesterol is inhibited by 85-90% and the balance of radioactivity appears in the C27 sterol desmosterol (cholesta-5,24-dien-3beta-ol). The very small weights of desmosterol which accumulate under these conditions were, as a routine, quantitatively converted into the heptafluorobutyrate 3-enol ester of cholesta-4,24-dien-3-one. This derivative has a high electron-capturing capability, a property that enables extremely small quantities (less than 0.25pmol) of the material to be accurately measured by gas chromatography with electron-capture detection. Measurements of the mass and specific radioactivity of the newly biosynthesized desmosterol formed in the presence of triparanol provides an accurate assessment of the amount of cholesterol that would be synthesized by the liver cells in the absence of the drug.
Project description:Cardiovascular disease is expected to remain the leading cause of death worldwide despite the introduction of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 inhibitors that effectively control cholesterol. Identifying residual risk factors for cardiovascular disease remains an important step for preventing and clinically managing the disease. Here we report cardiac injury and increased mortality occurring despite a 50% reduction in plasma cholesterol in a mouse model of phytosterolemia, a disease characterized by elevated levels of dietary plant sterols in the blood. Our studies show accumulation of stigmasterol, one of phytosterol species, leads to left ventricle dysfunction, cardiac interstitial fibrosis and macrophage infiltration without atherosclerosis, and increased mortality. A pharmacological inhibitor of sterol absorption prevents cardiac fibrogenesis. We propose that the pathological mechanism linking clinical sitosterolemia to the cardiovascular outcomes primarily involves phytosterols-induced cardiac fibrosis rather than cholesterol-driven atherosclerosis. Our studies suggest stigmasterol is a potent and independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Project description:Cholesterol synthesis in the fetal brain is inhibited because activity of DHCR24 (24-dehydrocholesterol reductase) is insufficient, causing concentrations of the precursor desmosterol to increase temporarily to 15-25% of total sterols at birth. We demonstrate that failure of DHCR24 to be adequately upregulated during periods of elevated cholesterol synthesis in the brain results from the presence in its promoter of the repressor element 1 (RE1) nucleotide sequence that binds the RE1-silencing transcription factor (REST) and that REST, generally reduced in neural tissues, uncharacteristically but not without precedent, enhances DHCR24 transcription. DHCR24 and REST mRNA levels are reduced 3- to 4-fold in fetal mouse brain compared to liver (p < 0.001). Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays suggested that REST binds to the human DHCR24 promoter in the vicinity of the predicted human RE1 sequence. Luminescent emission from a human DHCR24 promoter construct with a mutated RE1 sequence was reduced 2-fold compared to output from a reporter with wild-type RE1 (p < 0.005). Silencing REST in HeLa cells resulted in significant reductions of DHCR24 mRNA (2-fold) and DHCR24 protein (4-fold). As expected, relative concentrations of ?(24)-cholesterol precursor sterols increased 3- to 4-fold, reflecting the inhibition of DHCR24 enzyme activity. In contrast, mRNA levels of DHCR7 (sterol 7-dehydrocholesterol reductase), a gene essential for cholesterol synthesis lacking an RE1 sequence, and concentrations of HMGR (3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-CoA reductase) enzyme protein were both unaffected. Surprisingly, a dominant negative fragment of REST consisting of just the DNA binding domain (about 20% of the protein) and full-length REST enhanced DHCR24 expression equally well. Furthermore, RE1 and the sterol response element (SRE), the respective binding sites for REST and the SRE binding protein (SREBP), are contiguous. These observations led us to hypothesize that REST acts because it is bound in close proximity to SREBP, thus amplifying its ability to upregulate DHCR24. It is likely that modulation of DHCR24 expression by REST persisted in the mammalian genome either because it does no harm or because suppressing metabolically active DHCR24 while providing abundant quantities of the multifunctional sterol desmosterol during neural development proved useful.
Project description:1. [2-(14)C]Mevalonate was incorporated into squalene and the major phytosterols of pea and maize leaves; it was also incorporated into compounds belonging to the 4,4-dimethyl and 4alpha-methyl steroid groups and which may be possible phytosterol intermediates. 2. l-[Me-(14)C]Methionine was incorporated into the major sterols and also into the 4,4-dimethyl and 4alpha-methyl steroid groups. No radioactivity was detected in squalene. 3. Under anaerobic conditions incorporation of [2-(14)C]-mevalonate into the non-saponifiable lipid of pea leaves was drastically decreased but radioactive squalene was accumulated. 4. Cycloartenol, 24-methylenecycloartanol, 24-methylenelophenol, 24-ethylidenelophenol, fucosterol, beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol and campesterol have been identified by gas-liquid chromatography in pea leaves. 5. The significance of these results in connexion with phytosterol biosynthesis and the introduction of the alkyl group at C-24 into phytosterols is discussed.