Scientists have determined the structure of CETP -- the protein that transfers lipids in the blood from 'good' to 'bad' cholesterol -- according to a study in the February 2007 issue of Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. There are several kinds of lipoproteins, including LDL (low-density lipoprotein, the so-called 'bad' cholesterol) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein, the so-called 'good' cholesterol). CETP is known to transfers lipids from HDL to LDL,
Using x-ray crystallography, Xiayang Qiu and colleagues determine that CETP It has a boomerang-like shape, with a tunnel running through it. The curvature may be important for docking lipoproteins, which have a complementary shape. The tunnel was found filled with lipids, and when researchers blocked it, the transfer of lipids was affected, showing that the tunnel indeed functions as a passageway for lipids.
Because CETP transfers lipids from 'good' to 'bad' cholesterol, drugs that interfere with this activity could be used to treat patients with cardiovascular disease.
Xiayang Qiu (Pfizer Inc, Groton, CT, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Structural & Molecular Biology press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza