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RNA binding protein HuR regulates the expression of ABCA1.

Journal of lipid research (2014-04-15)
Cristina M Ramírez, Chin Sheng Lin, Kotb Abdelmohsen, Leigh Goedeke, Je-Hyun Yoon, Julio Madrigal-Matute, Jose L Martin-Ventura, Dat T Vo, Philip J Uren, Luiz O Penalva, Myriam Gorospe, Carlos Fernández-Hernando
ABSTRACT

ABCA1 is a major regulator of cellular cholesterol efflux and plasma HDL biogenesis. Even though the transcriptional activation of ABCA1 is well established, the posttranscriptional regulation of ABCA1 expression is poorly understood. Here, we investigate the potential contribution of the RNA binding protein (RBP) human antigen R (HuR) on the posttranscriptional regulation of ABCA1 expression. RNA immunoprecipitation assays demonstrate a direct interaction between HuR and ABCA1 mRNA. We found that HuR binds to the 3' untranslated region of ABCA1 and increases ABCA1 translation, while HuR silencing reduces ABCA1 expression and cholesterol efflux to ApoA1 in human hepatic (Huh-7) and monocytic (THP-1) cells. Interestingly, cellular cholesterol levels regulate the expression, intracellular localization, and interaction between HuR and ABCA1 mRNA. Finally, we found that HuR expression was significantly increased in macrophages from human atherosclerotic plaques, suggesting an important role for this RBP in controlling macrophage cholesterol metabolism in vivo. In summary, we have identified HuR as a novel posttranscriptional regulator of ABCA1 expression and cellular cholesterol homeostasis, thereby opening new avenues for increasing cholesterol efflux from atherosclerotic foam macrophages and raising circulat-ing HDL cholesterol levels.

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