[NPC1_HUMAN] Defects in NPC1 are the cause of Niemann-Pick disease type C1 (NPC1) [MIM:257220]. A lysosomal storage disorder that affects the viscera and the central nervous system. It is due to defective intracellular processing and transport of low-density lipoprotein derived cholesterol. It causes accumulation of cholesterol in lysosomes, with delayed induction of cholesterol homeostatic reactions. Niemann-Pick disease type C1 has a highly variable clinical phenotype. Clinical features include variable hepatosplenomegaly and severe progressive neurological dysfunction such as ataxia, dystonia and dementia. The age of onset can vary from infancy to late adulthood. An allelic variant of Niemann-Pick disease type C1 is found in people with Nova Scotia ancestry. Patients with the Nova Scotian clinical variant are less severely affected.                  
[NPC1_HUMAN] Intracellular cholesterol transporter which acts in concert with NPC2 and plays an important role in the egress of cholesterol from the endosomal/lysosomal compartment. Both NPC1 and NPC2 function as the cellular 'tag team duo' (TTD) to catalyze the mobilization of cholesterol within the multivesicular environment of the late endosome (LE) to effect egress through the limiting bilayer of the LE. NPC2 binds unesterified cholesterol that has been released from LDLs in the lumen of the late endosomes/lysosomes and transfers it to the cholesterol-binding pocket of the N-terminal domain of NPC1. Cholesterol binds to NPC1 with the hydroxyl group buried in the binding pocket and is exported from the limiting membrane of late endosomes/ lysosomes to the ER and plasma membrane by an unknown mechanism. Binds oxysterol with higher affinity than cholesterol. May play a role in vesicular trafficking in glia, a process that may be crucial for maintaining the structural and functional integrity of nerve terminals.
Publication Abstract from PubMed
LDL delivers cholesterol to lysosomes by receptor-mediated endocytosis. Exit of cholesterol from lysosomes requires two proteins, membrane-bound Niemann-Pick C1 (NPC1) and soluble NPC2. NPC2 binds cholesterol with its isooctyl side chain buried and its 3beta-hydroxyl exposed. Here, we describe high-resolution structures of the N-terminal domain (NTD) of NPC1 and complexes with cholesterol and 25-hydroxycholesterol. NPC1(NTD) binds cholesterol in an orientation opposite to NPC2: 3beta-hydroxyl buried and isooctyl side chain exposed. Cholesterol transfer from NPC2 to NPC1(NTD) requires reorientation of a helical subdomain in NPC1(NTD), enlarging the opening for cholesterol entry. NPC1 with point mutations in this subdomain (distinct from the binding subdomain) cannot accept cholesterol from NPC2 and cannot restore cholesterol exit from lysosomes in NPC1-deficient cells. We propose a working model wherein after lysosomal hydrolysis of LDL-cholesteryl esters, cholesterol binds NPC2, which transfers it to NPC1(NTD), reversing its orientation and allowing insertion of its isooctyl side chain into the outer lysosomal membranes.
Structure of N-terminal domain of NPC1 reveals distinct subdomains for binding and transfer of cholesterol.,Kwon HJ, Abi-Mosleh L, Wang ML, Deisenhofer J, Goldstein JL, Brown MS, Infante RE Cell. 2009 Jun 26;137(7):1213-24. PMID:19563754
From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.