Cholesterol is an apparently indispensable lipid for numerous processes required for cell proliferation. Levels of this molecule are primarily regulated at the transcriptional level by the SREBPs (sterol-regulatory-element-binding proteins) and LXR (liver X receptor). In this issue of the Biochemical Journal, Rodríguez-Acebes et al. show that a cholesterol precursor, desmosterol, can support cell proliferation in the absence of cholesterol in a murine macrophage-like model (J774-D cells). These cells are defective in DHCR24 (sterol-Δ24-reductase, or 3β-hydroxysterol Δ24-reductase), leading to desmosterol accumulation, and yet sterol homoeostasis appears to be normal with respect to SREBP processing and LXR activation. Other potentially cholesterol-dependent processes which were not the focus of this study are briefly discussed, such as lipid-raft-dependent cell signalling.
Commentary| May 13 2009
How essential is cholesterol?
Andrew J. Brown
Andrew J. Brown 1
1BABS, School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, Biosciences Building D26, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
1To whom correspondence should be addressed (email email@example.com).
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Julian Stevenson, Andrew J. Brown; How essential is cholesterol?. Biochem J 1 June 2009; 420 (2): e1–e4. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/BJ20090445
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