Cholesterol has been conjectured to be a modulator of the amyloid cascade, the mechanism that produces the amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides implicated in the onset of Alzheimer's disease. We propose that cholesterol impacts the genesis of Aβ not through direct interaction with proteins in the bilayer, but indirectly by inducing the liquid-ordered phase and accompanying liquid–liquid phase separations, which partition proteins in the amyloid cascade to different lipid domains and ultimately to different endocytotic pathways. We explore the full process of Aβ genesis in the context of liquid-ordered phases induced by cholesterol, including protein partitioning into lipid domains, mechanisms of endocytosis experienced by lipid domains and secretases, and pH-controlled activation of amyloid precursor protein secretases in specific endocytotic environments. Outstanding questions on the essential role of cholesterol in the amyloid cascade are identified for future studies.

Expected final online publication date for the , Volume 53 is May 2024. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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