The endoplasmic reticulum is traditionally perceived as the key compartment for regulating intracellular cholesterol metabolism. Increasing evidence suggests that the endocytic pathway provides an additional regulatory level governing intracellular cholesterol trafficking and homoeostasis. Sterols can enter, and apparently also exit, endosomal compartments via both vesicular and non-vesicular mechanisms. A number of studies have focused on endosomal sterol removal as its defects lead to cholesterol storage diseases. So far, the bulk of evidence on endosomal sterol egress describes the involvement of membrane trafficking machineries. Interestingly, two late endosomal sterol-binding proteins were recently shown to regulate the movement of late endosomes along cytoskeletal tracks. These studies provide the first indications of how non-vesicular and vesicular mechanisms may co-operate in endosomal sterol trafficking.

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