MAIN METHODS: The effects of BChE on signaling pathways were determined by immunoblotting in a BChE knockout hepatocyte cell line. DiI-LDL probe was used to explore the effect of BChE expression on LDL internalization. Co-immunoprecipitation and LC-MS were used to explore the interacting proteins with BChE. Finally, a hepatocyte-restricted BChE silencing mouse model was established by AAV8-Tbg-shRNA, and the hypercholesterolemia was induced by 65% kcal% high-fat, high-sucrose diet feeding.
MAIN FINDINGS: Here we demonstrate that butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) governs the LDL receptor levels and LDL uptake capacity through the MEK-ERK signaling cascades to promote Ldlr transcription. BChE interacts and co-localizes with PRMT5, a protein methylation modifier controlling the ERK signaling. PRMT5 regulates LDLR-dependent LDL uptake and is a substrate of chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA). BChE deficiency induces the PRTM5 degradation dependent on CMA activity, possibly through facilitating the HSC70 (Heat shock cognate 71 kDa) recognition of PRMT5. Remarkably, in vivo hepatocyte-restricted BChE silencing reduces plasma cholesterol levels substantially. In contrast, the BChE knockout mice are predisposed to hypercholesterolemia.
SIGNIFICANCE: Taken together, these findings outline a regulatory role for the BChE-PRMT5-ERK-LDLR axis in hepatocyte cholesterol metabolism, and suggest that targeting liver BChE is an effective therapeutic strategy to treat hypercholesterolemia.