ATP8B1 Deficiency Results in Elevated Mitochondrial Phosphatidylethanolamine Levels and Increased Mitochondrial Oxidative Phosphorylation in Human Hepatoma Cells

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ATP8B1 is a phospholipid flippase that is deficient in patients with progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis type 1 (PFIC1). PFIC1 patients suffer from severe liver disease but also present with dyslipidemia, including low plasma cholesterol, of yet unknown etiology. Here we show that ATP8B1 knockdown in HepG2 cells leads to a strong increase in the mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) without a change in glycolysis. The enhanced OXPHOS coincides with elevated low-density lipoprotein receptor protein and increased mitochondrial fragmentation and phosphatidylethanolamine levels. Furthermore, expression of phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase, an enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of mitochondrial-derived phosphatidylethanolamine to phosphatidylcholine, was reduced in ATP8B1 knockdown cells. We conclude that ATP8B1 deficiency results in elevated mitochondrial PE levels that stimulate mitochondrial OXPHOS. The increased OXPHOS leads to elevated LDLR levels, which provides a possible explanation for the reduced plasma cholesterol levels in PFIC1 disease.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12344
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2022


  • ATP8B1
  • LDLR
  • PFIC
  • flippase
  • mitochondria
  • phosphatidylethanolamine

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