Quantitative trait mapping in mice identified a susceptibility locus for gallstones (Lith6) spanning the Apobec-1 locus, the structural gene encoding the RNA-specific cytidine deaminase responsible for production of apolipoprotein B48 in mammalian small intestine and rodent liver. This observation prompted us to compare dietary gallstone susceptibility in Apobec-1-/- mice and congenic C57BL/6 wild type controls. When fed a lithogenic diet (LD) for 2 weeks, 90% Apobec-1-/- mice developed solid gallstones in comparison with 16% wild type controls. LD-fed Apobec-1-/- mice demonstrated increased biliary cholesterol secretion as well as increased cholesterol saturation and bile acid hydrophobicity indices. These changes occurred despite a relative decrease in cholesterol absorption in LD-fed Apobec-1-/- mice. Among the possible mechanisms to account for this phenotype, expression of Cyp7a1 mRNA and protein were significantly decreased in chow-fed Apobec-1-/- mice, decreasing further in LD-fed animals. Cyp7a1 transcription in hepatocyte nuclei, however, was unchanged in Apobec-1-/- mice, excluding transcriptional repression as a potential mechanism for decreased Cyp7a1 expression. We demonstrated that APOBEC-1 binds to AU-rich regions of the 3′-untranslated region of the Cyp7a1 transcript, containing the UUUN(A/U)U consensus motif, using both UV cross-linking to recombinant APOBEC-1 and in vivo RNA co-immunoprecipitation. In vivo Apobec-1-dependent modulation of Cyp7a1 expression was further confirmed following adenovirus-Apobec-1 administration to chow-fed Apobec-1-/- mice, which rescued Cyp7a1 gene expression. Taken together, the findings suggest that the AU-rich RNA binding-protein Apobec-1 mediates post-transcriptional regulation of murine Cyp7a1 expression and influences susceptibility to diet-induced gallstone formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16860-16871
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number25
StatePublished - Jun 19 2009


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