HMG-CoA reductase (HMGCR) is the rate-limiting enzyme in the cholesterol biosynthetic pathway, and is the target of cholesterol-lowering drugs, statins. Previous studies have demonstrated that the enzyme activity is regulated by sterol-induced degradation in addition to transcriptional regulation through sterol-regulatory-element-binding proteins (SREBPs). While 25-hydroxycholesterol induces both HMGCR degradation and SREBP inhibition in a nonselective manner, lanosterol selectively induces HMGCR degradation. Here, to clarify the structural determinants of selectivity for the two activities, we established a luciferase-based assay monitoring HMGCR degradation and used it to profile the structure-activity/selectivity relationships of oxysterols and (oxy)lanosterols. We identified several sterols that selectively induce HMGCR degradation and one sterol, 25-hydroxycholest-4-en-3-one, that selectively inhibits the SREBP pathway. These results should be helpful in designing more potent and selective HMGCR degraders.
- HMG-CoA reductase