RNA binding protein HuR regulates the expression of ABCA1

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


ABCA1 is a major regulator of cellular cholesterol effl ux 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 Πuntranslated region of ABCA1 and increases ABCA1 translation, while HuR silencing reduces ABCA1 expression and cholesterol effl ux 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 signifi cantly 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 identifi ed HuR as a novel posttranscriptional regulator of ABCA1 expression and cellular cholesterol homeostasis, thereby opening new avenues for increasing cholesterol effl ux from atherosclerotic foam macrophages and raising circulating HDL cholesterol levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1066-1076
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Lipid Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • ATP binding cassette transporter A1
  • Cholesterol efflux
  • Human antigen R
  • Lipid homeostasis
  • Posttranscriptional regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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