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The aberrant accumulation of sterols contributes to heart attack and stroke. Two proteins embedded in the membrane of the endoplasmic reticulum, Insig-1 and Insig-2, are key players in the cellular pathway that regulates cellular sterol levels. Despite their physiological importance, the structural information on Insigs remains limited. We reported the structure of a mycobacterial homolog of Insig. The structure, together with biochemical experiments, suggests how Insig interacts with other components of the sterol regulatory pathway. These analyses provide an important framework for further functional and mechanistic understanding of Insig proteins and the sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP) pathway.
Dr Ruobing Ren finished his B.Sc. at University of Science and Technology of China in 2009, and obtained his PhD from Tsinghua University in 2015. During his PhD, he focused heavily on structural studies of membrane proteins involved in cholesterol metabolism and homeostasis. In 2015, he joined the Amgen Asia R&D centre in Shanghai as Associate Scientist for GPCR structural study and early drug discovery.