Structural basis of transfer between lipoproteins by cholesteryl ester transfer protein

Lei Zhang, Feng Yan, Shengli Zhang, Dongsheng Lei, M. Arthur Charles, Giorgio Cavigiolio, Michael Oda, Ronald M. Krauss, Karl H. Weisgraber, Kerry Anne Rye, Henry J. Pownall, Xiayang Qiu, Gang Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


Human cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) mediates the net transfer of cholesteryl ester mass from atheroprotective high-density lipoproteins to atherogenic low-density lipoproteins by an unknown mechanism. Delineating this mechanism would be an important step toward the rational design of new CETP inhibitors for treating cardiovascular diseases. Using EM, single-particle image processing and molecular dynamics simulation, we discovered that CETP bridges a ternary complex with its N-terminal β-barrel domain penetrating into high-density lipoproteins and its C-terminal domain interacting with low-density lipoprotein or very-low-density lipoprotein. In our mechanistic model, the CETP lipoprotein-interacting regions, which are highly mobile, form pores that connect to a hydrophobic central cavity, thereby forming a tunnel for transfer of neutral lipids from donor to acceptor lipoproteins. These new insights into CETP transfer provide a molecular basis for analyzing mechanisms for CETP inhibition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)342-349
Number of pages8
JournalNature Chemical Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Structural basis of transfer between lipoproteins by cholesteryl ester transfer protein'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this