The low density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor system coordinates the metabolism of cholesterol, an essential component of the plamsa membrane of all mammalian cells. Study of this system has led to an enhanced understanding of the cellular basis of cholesterol homeostasis. It has also brought into focus an important mechanism of metabolic regulation - the process of receptor-mediated endocytosis. In this article, we first describe the receptor-mediated endocytosis of LDL, a sequence of events in which receptor binding and internalization are coupled in specialized regions of the plasma membrane called coated pits. Second, we trace the cellular functions of the cholesterol derived from internalized LDL. Third, genetic evidence is presented to indicate that both the binding and internalization of LDL are mediated by a single receptor molecule that contains two active sites, one mediating binding and the other internalization. Finally, the characteristics of the LDL receptor system are used to suggest models for receptor systems in general.
Brown, M. S., & Goldstein, J. L. (1979). Receptor-mediated endocytosis: Insights from the lipoprotein receptor system. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.76.7.3330