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Investigating the Effects of Statins on Cellular Lipid Metabolism Using a Yeast Expression System

Leszczynska, Agata and Burzynska, Beata and Plochocka, Danuta and Kaminska, Joanna and Zimnicka, Magdalena and Kania, Magdalena and Kiliszek, Marek and Wysocka-Kapcinska, Monika and Danikiewicz, Witold and Szkopinska, Anna (2009) Investigating the Effects of Statins on Cellular Lipid Metabolism Using a Yeast Expression System. PloSOne, 4 (12). pp. 1-6.


Official URL: http://www.plosone.org


In humans, defects in lipid metabolism are associated with a number of severe diseases such as atherosclerosis, obesity and type II diabetes. Hypercholesterolemia is a primary risk factor for coronary artery disease, the major cause of premature deaths in developed countries. Statins are inhibitors of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGR), the key enzyme of the sterol synthesis pathway. Since yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae harbours many counterparts of mammalian enzymes involved in lipid-synthesizing pathways, conclusions drawn from research with this single cell eukaryotic organism can be readily applied to higher eukaryotes. Using a yeast strain with deletions of both HMG1 and HMG2 genes (i.e. completely devoid of HMGR activity) with introduced wild-type or mutant form of human HMGR (hHMGR) gene we investigated the effects of statins on the lipid metabolism of the cell. The relative quantification of mRNA demonstrated a different effect of simvastatin on the expression of the wild-type and mutated hHMGR gene. GC/MS analyses showed a significant decrease of sterols and enhanced conversion of squalene and sterol precursors into ergosterol. This was accompanied by the mobilization of ergosterol precursors localized in lipid particles in the form of steryl esters visualized by confocal microscopy. Changes in the level of ergosterol and its precursors in cells treated with simvastatin depend on the mutation in the hHMGR gene. HPLC/MS analyses indicated a reduced level of phospholipids not connected with the mevalonic acid pathway. We detected two significant phenomena. First, cells treated with simvastatin develop an adaptive response compensating the lower activity of HMGR. This includes enhanced conversion of sterol precursors into ergosterol, mobilization of steryl esters and increased expression of the hHMGR gene. Second, statins cause a substantial drop in the level of glycerophospholipids.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions:Department of Lipid Biochemistry
ID Code:103
Deposited By: PhD Anna SzkopiƄska
Deposited On:16 Mar 2011 06:23
Last Modified:28 Mar 2012 20:35

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