ABCA1-mediated transport of cellular cholesterol and phospholipids to HDL apolipoproteins

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Lipid-poor apolipoproteins remove cellular cholesterol and phospholipids by an active transport pathway controlled by an ATP binding cassette transporter called ABCA1 (formerly ABC1). Mutations in ABCA1 cause Tangier disease, a severe HDL deficiency syndrome characterized by a rapid turnover of plasma apolipoprotein A-I, accumulation of sterol in tissue macrophages, and prevalent atherosclerosis. This implies that lipidation of apolipoprotein A-I by the ABCA1 pathway is required for generating HDL particles and clearing sterol from macrophages. Thus, the ABCA1 pathway has become an important therapeutic target for mobilizing excess cholesterol from tissue macrophages and protecting against atherosclerosis.

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