Niemann-Pick C1 (NPC1) is a polytopic membrane protein with 13 transmembrane helices that exports LDL-derived cholesterol from lysosomes by carrying it through the 80 Å glycocalyx and the 40 Å lipid bilayer. Transport begins when cholesterol binds to the N-terminal domain (NTD) of NPC1, which projects to the surface of the glycocalyx. Here, we reconstitute cholesterol transport by expressing the NTD as a fragment separate from the remaining portion of NPC1. When co-expressed, the two NPC1 fragments reconstitute cholesterol transport, indicating that the NTD has the flexibility to interact with the remaining parts of NPC1 even when not covalently linked. We also show that cholesterol can be transferred from the NTD of one full-length NPC1 to another NPC1 molecule that lacks the NTD. These data support the hypothesis that cholesterol is transported through interactions between two or more NPC1 molecules.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)