Student research project
Supervisor(s): Professor Dmitri Sviridov
Maintaining cholesterol homeostasis in cells is critical as studies have shown that imbalanced cholesterol metabolism could lead to cardiovascular complications such as atherosclerosis. Cholesterol efflux is a tightly regulated cellular process of removing excess cholesterol that involves cell surface transporters and their corresponding acceptors (apolipoprotein A-1 (apoA-1) and HDL i.e. ‘good cholesterol’). Cholesterol is then transported to the liver where it is metabolised and excreted in a process collectively known as the Reverse Cholesterol Transport (RCT) pathway. Many studies have shown an inverse association between HDL’s cholesterol efflux capacity and the development of atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases. As such, an ability to increase the rate of cholesterol efflux from cells would be desirable. Recent studies have revealed that cholesterol efflux to apoA-1 and HDL was increased in the presence of ApoA-1 Binding Protein (A1BP). However, its mechanism in facilitating this increase remains unclear. We aim to elucidate the mechanism and function of how A1BP enhances cholesterol efflux and also determine if A1BP possesses an ability to improve HDL’s other athero-protective abilities (e.g. anti-inflammatory) in hopes to discover its therapeutic properties in the mitigation of atherosclerosis development.
Figure: Reverse cholesterol transport pathway.
This project is suitable for an Honours or Masters student and will involve applying various skills and techniques, including:
- animal models
- cell culture
- molecular biology