Cell Biology

Making a StART on sterol transport

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Science  24 Jul 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6246, pp. 393
DOI: 10.1126/science.349.6246.393-a

Proteins containing StART-like domains (gray) transfer sterols (gold) between the ER and the plasma membrane

ILLUSTRATION: V. ALTOUNIAN/SCIENCE

Different organelles and membranes within cells contain different sets of lipids. Sterols are key components of cellular membranes, and their trafficking within cells is poorly understood. Sterols must traffic between the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and the cell surface, but do so via a nonvesicular route. Gatta et al. examined this fundamental process in yeast. They found a class of proteins involved in the transfer of sterols between the ER and the plasma membrane (PM) that contained so-called StART-like (for steroidogenic acute regulatory transfer) domains. These ER membrane proteins localized at specific ER-PM contact sites and bound sterols. Efficient PM-to-ER sterol transport required not only StART-like domain–containing proteins themselves, but also their proper localization at the contact sites.

eLife 4 e07253 (2015).

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