Enantiospecificity of Cholesterol Function in Vivo

C. Michael Crowder, Emily J. Westover, A. Sampath Kumar, Richard E. Ostlund, Douglas F. Covey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


The importance of the absolute configuration of cholesterol for its function in vivo is unknown. To directly test this question in vivo, we synthesized the enantiomer of cholesterol (ent-cholesterol) and tested its ability to substitute for natural cholesterol (nat-cholesterol) in the growth, viability, and behavior of Caenorhabditis elegans, a cholesterol auxotroph. First-generation animals grown on ent-cholesterol were viable with only mild behavioral defects. However, ent-cholesterol produced 100% lethality/arrest of their second generation progeny. Isotopically labeled ent-cholesterol incorporated into animals, indicating that its lethality was not secondary to cholesterol starvation. When mixed with nat-cholesterol, ent-cholesterol was not inert; rather, it antagonized the activity of nat-cholesterol. These results demonstrate for the first time that the absolute configuration of cholesterol, not just its physical properties, is essential for its functions in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44369-44372
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number48
StatePublished - Nov 30 2001


Dive into the research topics of 'Enantiospecificity of Cholesterol Function in Vivo'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this