Cholesterol is essential to human health, and its levels are tightly regulated by a balance of synthesis, uptake, and efflux. Cholesterol synthesis requires the actions of more than twenty enzymes to reach the final product, through two alternate pathways. Here we describe a physical and functional interaction between the two terminal enzymes. 24-Dehydrocholesterol reductase (DHCR24) and 7-dehydrocholesterol reductase (DHCR7) coimmunoprecipitate, and when the DHCR24 gene is knocked down by siRNA, DHCR7 activity is also ablated. Conversely, overexpression of DHCR24 enhances DHCR7 activity, but only when a functional form of DHCR24 is used. DHCR7 is important for both cholesterol and vitamin D synthesis, and we have identified a novel layer of regulation, whereby its activity is controlled by DHCR24. This suggests the existence of a cholesterol "metabolon", where enzymes from the same metabolic pathway interact with each other to provide a substrate channeling benefit. We predict that other enzymes in cholesterol synthesis may similarly interact, and this should be explored in future studies.
Bibliographical noteErratum can be found in The Journal of Lipid Research, Vol. 56 (5), pp. 1079, doi: 10.1194/jlr.M056986ERR.
- 24-dehydrocholesterol reductase
- 7-dehydrocholesterol reductase