High-density lipoproteins (HDLs) are athero-protective, primarily because of their ability to promote cholesterol flux from peripheral tissues to the liver by reverse cholesterol transport (RCT). The delivery of HDL-cholesteryl esters (CE) into cells is mediated by the HDL receptor, scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-BI), a promising target for enhancing whole body cholesterol disposal and preventing cardiovascular disease. A detailed understanding of the structural determinants underlying proper SR-BI/HDL alignment that supports the selective uptake of HDL-CE into cells remains lacking. To this end, we exploited CD36, a class B scavenger receptor with a predicted topology similar to that of SR-BI that binds HDL but is unable to mediate efficient selective uptake of HDL-CE. We generated a series of SR-BI/CD36 chimeric receptors that span the extracellular (EC) domain of SR-BI to delineate regions that are essential for SR-BI's cholesterol transport functions. All 16 SR-BI/CD36 chimeras were transiently expressed in COS-7 cells, and their plasma membrane localization was confirmed. The majority of SR-BI/CD36 chimeric receptors displayed significant reductions in their ability to (i) bind HDL, (ii) deliver HDL-CE to cells, (iii) mediate efflux of free cholesterol (FC) to HDL, and (iv) redistribute plasma membrane domains of FC. We also demonstrated that changes in SR-BI function were independent of receptor oligomerization. Altogether, we have identified discrete subdomains, particularly in the N-terminal and C-terminal regions of the EC domain of SR-BI, that are critical for productive receptor-ligand interactions and the various cholesterol transport functions of SR-BI.
The athero-protective role of scavenger receptor BI (SR-BI) is primarily attributed to its ability to selectively transfer cholesteryl esters from high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) to the liver during reverse cholesterol transport (RCT). In this review, we highlight recent findings that reveal the impact of SR-BI on lipid levels and cardiovascular disease in humans. Moreover, additional responsibilities of SR-BI in modulating adrenal and platelet function, as well as female fertility in humans, are discussed.
Hibernating mammals cease feeding during the winter and rely primarily on stored lipids to fuel alternating periods of torpor and arousal. How hibernators manage large fluxes of lipids and sterols over the annual hibernation cycle is poorly understood. The aim of this study was to investigate lipid and cholesterol transport and storage in ground squirrels studied in spring, summer, and several hibernation states. Cholesterol levels in total plasma, HDL and LDL particles were elevated in hibernators compared with spring or summer squirrels. Hibernation increased plasma apolipoprotein A-I expression and HDL particle size. Expression of cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase was 13-fold lower in hibernators than in active season squirrels. Plasma triglycerides were reduced by fasting in spring but not summer squirrels. In hibernators plasma ?-hydroxybutyrate was elevated during torpor whereas triglycerides were low relative to normothermic states. We conclude that the switch to a lipid-based metabolism during winter, coupled with reduced capacity to excrete cholesterol creates a closed system in which efficient use of lipoproteins is essential for survival.
Scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-BI) binds high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and mediates the selective uptake of cholesteryl esters (CE). Although the extracellular domain of SR-BI is critical for function, the structural characteristics of this region remain elusive. Using sulfhydryl labeling strategies, we report the novel finding that all six cysteine (Cys) residues in the extracellular domain of SR-BI are involved in disulfide bond formation that is intramolecular by nature. We hypothesized that an SR-BI conformation stabilized by extracellular disulfide bonds is a prerequisite for SR-BI-mediated cholesterol transport. Thus, single-Cys mutant SR-BI receptors (C251S-, C280S-, C321S-, C323S-, C334S-, and C384S-SR-BI), as well as Cys-less SR-BI, a mutant SR-BI receptor void of all Cys residues, were created, and plasma membrane localization was confirmed. Functional assays revealed that C280S-, C321S-, C323S-, and C334S-SR-BI and Cys-less SR-BI mutant receptors displayed weakened HDL binding and subsequent selective uptake of HDL-CE. However, only C323S-SR-BI and Cys-less SR-BI were unable to mediate wild-type levels of efflux of free cholesterol (FC) to HDL. None of the Cys mutations disrupted SR-BIs ability to redistribute plasma membrane FC. Taken together, the intramolecular disulfide bonds in the extracellular domain of SR-BI appear to maintain the receptor in a conformation integral to its cholesterol transport functions.
The binding of high density lipoprotein (HDL) to scavenger receptor BI (SR-BI) is responsible for whole-body cholesterol disposal via reverse cholesterol transport. The extracellular domain of SR-BI is required for HDL binding and selective uptake of HDL-cholesterol. We identified six highly hydrophobic regions in this domain that may be important for receptor activity and performed site-directed mutagenesis to investigate the importance of these regions in SR-BI-mediated cholesterol transport. Non-conservative mutation of the regions encompassing V67, L140/L142, V164 or V221 reduced hydrophobicity and impaired the ability of SR-BI to bind HDL, mediate selective uptake of HDL-cholesterol, promote cholesterol efflux, and enlarge the cholesterol oxidase-sensitive pool of membrane free cholesterol. In contrast, conservative mutations at V67, V164 or V221 did not affect the hydrophobicity or these cholesterol transport activities. We conclude that the hydrophobicity of N-terminal extracellular regions of SR-BI is critical for cholesterol transport, possibly by mediating receptor-ligand and/or receptor-membrane interactions.
In rodents, SR-BI has been firmly established as a physiologically relevant HDL receptor that mediates removal of HDL-cholesteryl esters (CE). However, its role in human lipoprotein metabolism is less defined. Recently, two unique point mutations in human SR-BI - S112F or T175A - were identified in subjects with high HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C) levels. We hypothesized that mutation of these conserved residues would compromise the cholesterol-transport functions of SR-BI. To test this hypothesis, S112F- and T175A-SR-BI were generated by site-directed mutagenesis. Cell surface expression was confirmed for both mutant receptors in COS-7 cells upon transient transfection, albeit at lower levels for T175A-SR-BI. Both mutant receptors displayed defective HDL binding, selective uptake of HDL-CE and release of free cholesterol (FC) from cells to HDL. Mutant receptors were also unable to re-organize plasma membrane pools of FC. While these impaired functions were independent of receptor oligomerization, inability of T175A-SR-BI to mediate cholesterol-transport functions could be related to altered N-linked glycosylation status. In conclusion, high HDL-C levels observed in carriers of S112F- or T175A-SR-BI mutant receptors are consistent with the inability of these SR-BI receptors to mediate efficient selective uptake of HDL-CE, and suggest that increased plasma HDL concentrations in these settings may not be associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
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