Direct observation of cargo transfer from HDL particles to the plasma membrane

Birgit Plochberger, Markus Axmann, Clemens Röhrl, Julian Weghuber, Mario Brameshuber, Sandra Mayr, Robert Ros, Robert Bittmann, Herbert Stangl, Gerhard Schütz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Exchange of cholesterol between high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles and cells is a key process for maintaining cellular cholesterol homeostasis. Recently, we have shown that amphiphilic cargo derived from HDL can be transferred directly to lipid bilayers. Here we pursued this work using a fluorescence-based method to directly follow cargo transfer from HDL particles to the cell membrane. METHODS: HDL was either immobilized on surfaces or added directly to cells, while transfer of fluorescent cargo was visualized via fluorescence imaging. RESULTS: In Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells expressing the scavenger receptor class B type 1 (SR-B1), transfer of amphiphilic cargo from HDL particles to the plasma membrane was observed immediately after contact, whereas hydrophobic cargo remained associated with the particles; about 60% of the amphiphilic cargo of surface-bound HDL was transferred to the plasma membrane. Essentially no cargo transfer was observed in cells with low endogenous SR-B1 expression. Interestingly, transfer of fluorescently-labeled cholesterol was also facilitated by using an artificial linker to bind HDL to the cell surface. CONCLUSIONS: Our data hence indicate that the tethering function of SR-B1 is sufficient for efficient transfer of free cholesterol to the plasma membrane
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-59
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • Cholesterol
  • HDL
  • Single molecule microscopy
  • transfer
  • Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells
  • Cricetulus
  • Humans
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Protein Transport
  • Animals
  • Cholesterol, HDL/blood
  • Time Factors
  • Cell Membrane/metabolism
  • Surface Properties
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions
  • Single Molecule Imaging/methods
  • CD36 Antigens/metabolism
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • CHO Cells


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