Cholesterol homeostasis: How do cells sense sterol excess?

Vicky Howe, Laura J. Sharpe, Stephanie J. Alexopoulos, Sarah V. Kunze, Ngee Kiat Chua, Dianfan Li, Andrew J. Brown
  • Chemistry and Physics of Lipids, September 2016, Elsevier
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.chemphyslip.2016.02.011

How do cells know when they have too much sterols?

What is it about?

Cholesterol is a fat molecule, and in fact there are plenty of other fat molecules with "sterol" in their name. Cholesterol is the most famous one but there are others. It is important these sterol molecules are kept at a certain level because they are critical for proper biological functions. Here, we review the ways that a cell can detect the levels of sterols.

Why is it important?

Sterols are involved in maintaining our health. At the same time, they can be involved in diseases. Understanding the basic processes allowing a cell to detect sterol levels is thus important for us to decipher what has gone wrong in diseases.


Mr Ngee Kiat (Jake) Chua
UNSW Sydney

Being part of this review has taught me how to appreciate the complexity of life. Everything is always in a balance. The hardworking cells in our bodies are no different, they need to ensure everything operating internally is in balance. Of note, we write on sterols, which are fat molecules. The most famous sterol is cholesterol, but a lot more sterols exist and keeping their levels in balance is critical for proper functions.

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The following have contributed to this page: Mr Ngee Kiat (Jake) Chua