Serum opacity factor enhances HDL-mediated cholesterol efflux, esterification and anti inflammatory effects

Urbain Tchoua, Corina Rosales, Daming Tang, Baiba K. Gillard, Ashley Vaughan, Hu Yu Lin, Harry S. Courtney, Henry J. Pownall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Serum opacity factor (SOF) is a streptococcal protein that disrupts the structure of human high density lipoproteins (HDL) releasing lipid-free apo A-I while forming a large cholesteryl ester-rich particle and a small neo HDL. Given its low cholesterol and high phospholipid contents, we tested the hypotheses that neo HDL is a better substrate for cholesterol esterification via lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT), better than HDL as an acceptor of THP-1 macrophage cholesterol efflux, and improves reduction of oxidized LDL-induced production of inflammatory markers. We observed that both cholesterol efflux and esterification were improved by recombinant (r)SOF treatment of whole plasma and that the underlying cause of the improved cholesterol esterification in plasma and macrophage cholesterol efflux to rSOF-treated plasma was due to the rSOF-mediated conversion of HDL to neo HDL. Moreover, the reduction of secretion of TNF-a and IL-6 by THP-1 cells by neo HDL was twice that of HDL. Studies in BHK cells overexpressing cholesterol transporters showed that efflux to neo HDL occurred primarily via ABCA1 not ABCG1. Thus, rSOF improves two steps in reverse cholesterol transport with a concomitant reduction in the release of macrophage markers of inflammation. We conclude that rSOF catalyzes a novel reaction that might be developed as a new therapy that prevents or reverses atherosclerosis via improved reverse cholesterol transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1117-1126
Number of pages10
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Cholesterol efflux
  • Cholesteryl esters
  • HDL
  • LCAT
  • Neo HDL
  • Reverse cholesterol transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Organic Chemistry


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