ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) plays an essential role in the biogenesis of high-density lipoprotein in liver and in the prevention of foam cell formation in macrophages by mediating the efflux of cellular cholesterol and phospholipids to apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I). Our current study investigated the mechanism of degradation of cell surface-resident ABCA1, focusing on ubiquitination. A coimmunoprecipitation study indicated the presence of ubiquitinated ABCA1 in the plasma membrane of the human hepatoma cell line, HuH-7, of cells from mouse liver, and of macrophages differentiated from the human acute monocytic leukemia cell line, THP-1 (THP-1 macrophages). In HuH-7 cells, degradation of cell surface-resident ABCA1 was inhibited by the overexpression of a dominant-negative form of ubiquitin. Moreover, the disruption of the endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) pathway, a dominant mechanism for ubiquitination-mediated lysosomal degradation, by the knockdown of hepatocyte growth factor-regulated tyrosine kinase substrate (HRS), significantly delayed the degradation of cell surface-resident ABCA1. This was accompanied by an increase in ABCA1 expression as well as in apoA-I-mediated [3H]-cholesterol efflux function. The effect of HRS knockdown was also observed after calpain inhibitor treatment, which is reported to retard ABCA1 degradation. The induction of ABCA1 by HRS knockdown was confirmed in THP-1 macrophages. Conclusion: Together with the fact that lysosomal inhibitor treatments increased ABCA1 expression in HuH-7 and THP-1 macrophages, these results suggest that ubiquitination mediates the lysosomal degradation of cell surface-resident ABCA1 through the ESCRT pathway, and thereby controls the expression and cholesterol efflux function of ABCA1. This mechanism seems to mediate ABCA1 degradation independently of the calpain-involving pathway. The modulation of ABCA1 ubiquitination could thus be a potential new therapeutic target for antiatherogenic drugs. (HEPATOLOGY 2011;)