The raison d'etre of this website is to provide you with hard scientific information which may help you make informed decisions in your quest for health (so far I have blogged concise summaries of over 1,500 scientific studies and have had three books published).

My research is mainly focused on the effects of cholesterol, saturated fat and statin drugs on health. If you know anyone who is worried about their cholesterol levels and heart disease, or has been told to take statin drugs you could send them a link to this website, and to my statin or cholesterol or heart disease books.

David Evans

Independent Health Researcher

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

The importance of cholesterol to healthy cell functioning

This study was published in Nature Communications 2012 Dec 4;3:1249

Study title and authors:
Cholesterol modulates cell signaling and protein networking by specifically interacting with PDZ domain-containing scaffold proteins.
Sheng R, Chen Y, Yung Gee H, Stec E, Melowic HR, Blatner NR, Tun MP, Kim Y, Källberg M, Fujiwara TK, Hye Hong J, Pyo Kim K, Lu H, Kusumi A, Goo Lee M, Cho W.
Department of Chemistry, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60607, USA.

This study can be accessed at:

Wonhwa Cho, professor of chemistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago and investigator on the study notes that inside the thin membrane of a cell, cholesterol is at high levels (30 to 40 percent) which suggests that it plays an important role in cellular processes.

Scaffolding proteins play an important role in cell signaling. A scaffold protein uses its physical structure to bring together other proteins so they can pass signals to each other. They have protein binding sites that offer the signaling proteins a place to latch onto.

The authors of the study found:
(a) Cholesterol binds to a region on the scaffold protein NHERF/EBP50 where one of its signaling partners also binds.
(b) Disruption of the cholesterol binding to that site stopped the signaling partner from activating.
(c) At least seven more scaffold proteins also bind cholesterol and have cholesterol-binding sites.

This shows the influential role cholesterol may play in cell signaling through direct interactions with scaffold proteins.

This suggests this way of interacting with cholesterol could be used by many proteins inside cells and highlights the importance of cholesterol to healthy cell functioning.