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Cholesterol Absorbing Mechanism Unveiled

SONG Baoliang and coworkers at Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, CAS Shanghai

Institutes for Biological Sciences, have found a Niemann-Pick C1-like 1 (NPC1L1) that plays

a critical role in cholesterol absorption. They found that cholesterol specifically promotes

the internalization of NPC1L1, and that this process requires microfilaments and the

clathrin/AP2 complex. They also shed light on the action of the drug Ezetimibe (trade name

Zetia), which is used to treat high cholesterol. They believe that Ezetimibe prevents

NPC1L1 from incorporating into clathrin-coated vesicles, and thus inhibits cholesterol

uptake. The finding, published in the June 4th issue of Cell Metabolism, unveils the

molecular path of cholesterol absorption, and creates new theoretical evidences and

experimental basis for screening out new cholesterol inhibitors.

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