SNAREs and cholesterol movement for steroidogenesis. Molecular and cellular endocrinology Kraemer, F. B., Shen, W., Azhar, S. 2016


Steroidogenesis is a complex process through which cholesterol traffics to mitochondria and is converted via a series of enzymatic steps to steroid hormones. Although the rate-limiting step in this process is the movement of cholesterol from the outer to the inner mitochondrial membrane via the actions of StAR, a continuous supply of cholesterol must be delivered to the outer mitochondrial membrane during active steroidogenesis and this is derived from multiple sources, including lipoprotein uptake, endogenous cholesterol synthesis and release from stores within cytoplasmic lipid droplets. A number of mechanisms have been suggested to contribute to cholesterol trafficking to mitochondria; however, there is no definitive consensus and this is particularly so in regards to trafficking from cytoplasmic lipid droplets. In this paper we review experiments in which we have surveyed the expression of SNARE proteins in steroidogenic tissue and cells and examined the role of SNAREs in mediating cholesterol movement from lipid droplets to the mitochondria based on multiple studies that identified SNAREs as components of cytoplasmic lipid droplets. We established and characterized an in vitro mitochondria reconstitution assay system that enabled us to examine the impact of adding recombinant SNARE proteins specifically on the movement of cholesterol from model lipid droplets to the outer mitochondrial membrane. Using this reconstitution assay system in combination with siRNA knockdown experiments in rat primary granulosa cells or in steroidogenic cell lines, we showed that several SNARE proteins are important components in the trafficking of cholesterol from lipid droplets to the mitochondria for steroidogenesis.

View details for DOI 10.1016/j.mce.2016.07.034

View details for PubMedID 27477781