Rice LM, Donigan M, Yang M, Liu W, Pandya D, Joseph BK, Sodi V, Gearhart TL, Yip J, Bouchard M, Nickels JT
LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) uptake by Ldlr is regulated at the transcriptional level by the cleavage-dependent activation of membrane-associated sterol response element-binding protein (SREBP-2). Activated SREBP-2 translocates to the nucleus, where it binds to an LDLR promoter sterol response element (SRE), increasing LDLR gene expression and LDL-C uptake. SREBP-2 cleavage and translocation steps are well established. Several SREBP-2 phosphorylation sites have been mapped and functionally characterized. The phosphatases dephosphorylating these sites remain elusive. The phosphatase(s) regulating SREBP-2 represents a novel pharmacological target for treating hypercholesterolemia. Here we show that protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) promotes SREBP-2 LDLR promoter binding in response to cholesterol depletion. No binding to an LDLR SRE was observed in the presence of the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, lovastatin, when PP2A activity was inhibited by okadaic acid or depleted by siRNA methods. SREBP-2 cleavage and nuclear translocation were not affected by loss of PP2A. PP2A activity was required for SREBP-2 DNA binding. In response to cholesterol depletion, PP2A directly interacted with SREBP-2 and altered its phosphorylation state, causing an increase in SREBP-2 binding to an LDLR SRE site. Increased binding resulted in induced LDLR gene expression and increased LDL uptake. We conclude that PP2A activity regulates cholesterol homeostasis and LDL-C uptake.