A population genetic study identified that the asialoglycoprotein receptor 1 (ASGR1) mutation carriers had substantially lower non–HDL-cholesterol (non–HDL-c) levels and reduced risks of cardiovascular diseases. However, the mechanism behind this phenomenon remained unclear. Here, we established Asgr1-knockout mice that represented a plasma lipid profile with significantly lower non–HDL-c and triglyceride (TG) caused by decreased secretion and increased uptake of VLDL/LDL. These 2 phenotypes were linked with the decreased expression of microsomal triglyceride transfer protein and proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9, 2 key targeted genes of sterol regulatory element–binding proteins (SREBPs). Furthermore, there were fewer nuclear SREBPs (nSREBPs) on account of more SREBPs being trapped in endoplasmic reticulum, which was caused by an increased expression of insulin-induced gene 1 (INSIG1), an anchor of SREBPs. Overexpression and gene knockdown interventions, in different models, were conducted to rescue the ASGR1-deficient phenotypes, and we found that INSIG1 knockdown independently reversed the ASGR1-mutated phenotypes with increased serum total cholesterol, LDL-c, TG, and liver cholesterol content accompanied by restored SREBP signaling. ASGR1 rescue experiments reduced INSIG1 and restored the SREBP network defect as manifested by improved apolipoprotein B secretion and reduced LDL uptake. Our observation demonstrated that increased INSIG1 is a critical factor responsible for ASGR1 deficiency–associated lipid profile changes and nSREBP suppression. This finding of an ASGR1/INSIG1/SREBP axis regulating lipid hemostasis may provide multiple potential targets for lipid-lowering drug development.
Yingying Xu, Jiawang Tao, Xiaorui Yu, Yuhang Wu, Yan Chen, Kai You, Jiaye Zhang, Anteneh Getachew, Tingcai Pan, Yuanqi Zhuang, Fang Yuan, Fan Yang, Xianhua Lin, Yin-xiong Li