Purpose of review: To offer a comprehensive review on the role of ABCG1 in cellular sterol homeostasis.
Recent findings: Early studies with Abcg1−/− mice indicated that ABCG1 was crucial for tissue lipid homeostasis, especially in the lung. More recent studies have demonstrated that loss of ABCG1 has wide-ranging consequences and impacts lymphocyte and stem cell proliferation, endothelial cell function, macrophage foam cell formation, as well as insulin secretion from pancreatic β cells. Recent studies have also demonstrated that ABCG1 functions as an intracellular lipid transporter, localizes to intracellular vesicles/endosomes, and that the transmembrane domains are sufficient for localization and transport function.
Summary: ABCG1 plays a crucial role in maintaining intracellular sterol and lipid homeostasis. Loss of this transporter has significant, cell-type-specific consequences ranging from effects on cellular proliferation, to surfactant production and/or insulin secretion. Elucidation of the mechanisms by which ABCG1 affects intracellular sterol flux/movement should provide important information that may link ABCG1 to diseases of dysregulated tissue lipid homeostasis.