Biocca, Silvia; Iacovelli, Federico; Matarazzo, Sara; Vindigni, Giulia; Oteri, Francesco; Desideri, Alessandro; Falconi, Mattia
Molecular mechanism of statin-mediated LOX-1 inhibition
CELL CYCLE, 14:1583-1595, MAY 19 2015

Statins are largely used in clinics in the treatment of patients with cardiovascular diseases for their effect on lowering circulating cholesterol. Lectin-like oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LOX-1), the primary receptor for ox-LDL, plays a central role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disorders. We have recently shown that chronic exposure of cells to lovastatin disrupts LOX-1 receptor cluster distribution in plasma membranes, leading to a marked loss of LOX-1 function. Here we investigated the molecular mechanism of statin-mediated LOX-1 inhibition and we demonstrate that all tested statins are able to displace the binding of fluorescent ox-LDL to LOX-1 by a direct interaction with LOX-1 receptors in a cell-based binding assay. Molecular docking simulations confirm the interaction and indicate that statins completely fill the hydrophobic tunnel that crosses the C-type lectin-like (CTLD) recognition domain of LOX-1. Classical molecular dynamics simulation technique applied to the LOX-1 CTLD, considered in the entire receptor structure with or without a statin ligand inside the tunnel, indicates that the presence of a ligand largely increases the dimer stability. Electrophoretic separation and western blot confirm that different statins binding stabilize the dimer assembly of LOX-1 receptors in vivo. The simulative and experimental results allow us to propose a CTLD clamp motion, which enables the receptor-substrate coupling. These findings reveal a novel and significant functional effect of statins.


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