Incubating Hep G2 cells for 18 h with triparanol, buthiobate and low concentrations (less than 0.5 microM) of U18666A, inhibitors of desmosterol delta 24-reductase, of lanosterol 14 alpha-demethylase and of squalene-2,3-epoxide cyclase (EC 126.96.36.199) respectively, resulted in a decrease of the HMG-CoA (3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A) reductase activity. However, U18666A at concentrations higher than 3 microM increased the HMG-CoA reductase activity in a concentration-dependent manner. None of these inhibitors influenced directly the reductase activity in Hep G2 cell homogenates. Analysis by t.l.c. of 14C-labelled non-saponifiable lipids formed from either [14C]acetate or [14C]mevalonate during the cell incubations confirmed the sites of action of the drugs used. Beside the 14C-labelled substrates of the blocked enzymes and 14C-labelled cholesterol, another non-saponifiable lipid fraction was observed, which behaves as polar sterols on t.l.c. This was the case with triparanol and at those concentrations of U18666A that decreased the reductase activity, suggesting that polar sterols may play a role in suppressing the reductase activity. In the presence of 30 microM-U18666A (sterol formation blocked) the increase produced by simultaneously added compactin could be prevented by addition of mevalonate. This indicates the existence of a non-sterol mevalonate-derived effector in addition to a sterol-dependent regulation. LDL (low-density lipoprotein), which was shown to be able to decrease the compactin-induced increase in reductase activity, could not prevent the U18666A-induced increase. On the contrary, LDL enhanced the U18666A effect, showing that the LDL regulation is not merely the result of introducing cholesterol to the cells.
- © 1987 London: The Biochemical Society