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The ABCA1 Gene: What does it do?

ABCA1 Gene Description:


The ABCA1 gene belongs to a group of genes called the ATP-binding cassette family, which provides instructions for making proteins that transport molecules across cell membranes. The ABCA1 protein is produced in many tissues, with high amounts found in the liver and in immune system cells called macrophages. This protein moves cholesterol and certain fats called phospholipids across the cell membrane to the outside of the cell. These substances are then picked up by a protein called apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I), which is produced from the APOA1 gene. ApoA-I, cholesterol, and phospholipids combine to make high-density lipoprotein (HDL), often referred to as “good cholesterol” because high levels of this substance reduce the chances of developing heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease. HDL is a molecule that carries cholesterol and phospholipids through the bloodstream from the body’s tissues to the liver. Once in the liver, cholesterol and phospholipids are redistributed to other tissues or removed from the body. The process of removing excess cholesterol from cells is extremely important for balancing cholesterol levels and maintaining cardiovascular health.

Genetic Lifehacks articles that include ABCA1 variants (SNPs):

LDL Cholesterol Genes

What is YOUR risk of heart disease?





About the Author:
Debbie Moon is the founder of Genetic Lifehacks. Fascinated by the connections between genes, diet, and health, her goal is to help you understand how to apply genetics to your diet and lifestyle decisions. Debbie has a BS in engineering from Colorado School of Mines and an MSc in biological sciences from Clemson University. Debbie combines an engineering mindset with a biological systems approach to help you understand how genetic differences impact your optimal health.