Caveolae-mediated endocytosis of VLDL-sized emulsion particles in macrophages requires NPC1 and STARD3 for further lysosomal processing



Triglyceride-rich lipoproteins and their remnants contribute to atherosclerosis, possibly by carrying remnant cholesterol and/or by exerting a pro-inflammatory effect on macrophages. Nevertheless, little is known about how macrophages process triglyceride-rich lipoproteins. We show that uptake by macrophages of VLDL-sized emulsion particles is dependent on the enzyme lipoprotein lipase via its C-terminal domain. Subsequent internalization of VLDL-triglycerides by macrophages is carried out by caveolae-mediated endocytosis, followed by hydrolysis by lysosomal acid lipase. STARD3 is required for the transfer of lysosomal fatty acids to the ER for lipid storage, while NPC1 likely is involved in promoting the extracellular efflux of fatty acids. Our data provide novel insights into how macrophages process VLDL-derived triglycerides and suggest that macrophages have the remarkable capacity to excrete internalized triglycerides as fatty acids. Overall design: Mouse RAW 246.7 macrophages were exposed to 1 mM artifical VLDL- (VLDLsep) and chylomicron-sized emulsion particles (CHYLsep) for 6 hrs, whereafter gene expression was profiled by RNA-sequencing.
Date made available18 May 2022
PublisherWageningen University & Research


  • Mus musculus

Accession numbers

  • GSE203250
  • PRJNA839254

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