Sterol Carrier Protein-2 Expression Alters Plasma Membrane Lipid Distribution and Cholesterol Dynamics † Academic Article uri icon


  • Although sterol carrier protein-2 (SCP-2) binds, transfers, and/or enhances the metabolism of many membrane lipid species (fatty acids, cholesterol, phospholipids), it is not known if SCP-2 expression actually alters the membrane distribution of lipids in living cells or tissues. As shown herein for the first time, expression of SCP-2 in transfected L-cell fibroblasts reduced the plasma membrane levels of lipid species known to traffic through the HDL-receptor-mediated efflux pathway: cholesterol, cholesteryl esters, and phospholipids. While the ratio of cholesterol/phospholipid in plasma membranes of intact cells was not changed by SCP-2 expression, phosphatidylinositol, a molecule important to intracellular signaling and vesicular trafficking, and anionic phospholipids were selectively retained. Only modest alterations in plasma membrane phospholipid percent fatty acid composition but no overall change in the proportion of saturated, unsaturated, monounsaturated, or polyunsaturated fatty acids were observed. The reduced plasma membrane content of cholesterol was not due to SCP-2 inhibition of sterol transfer from the lysosomes to the plasma membranes. SCP-2 dramatically enhanced sterol transfer from isolated lysosomal membranes to plasma membranes by eliciting detectable sterol transfer within 30 s, decreasing the t(1/2) for sterol transfer 364-fold from >4 days to 7-15 min, and inducing formation of rapidly transferable sterol domains. In summary, data obtained with intact transfected cells and in vitro sterol transfer assays showed that SCP-2 expression (i) selectively modulated plasma membrane lipid composition and (ii) decreased the plasma membrane content cholesterol, an effect potentially due to more rapid SCP-2-mediated cholesterol transfer from versus to the plasma membrane.

published proceedings

  • Biochemistry

author list (cited authors)

  • Gallegos, A. M., Atshaves, B. P., Storey, S. M., McIntosh, A. L., Petrescu, A. D., & Schroeder, F.

citation count

  • 45

complete list of authors

  • Gallegos, AM||Atshaves, BP||Storey, SM||McIntosh, AL||Petrescu, AD||Schroeder, F

publication date

  • May 2001