Streptomyces filipinensis is the industrial producer of filipin, a pentaene macrolide, archetype of non-glycosylated polyenes, and widely used for the detection and the quantitation of cholesterol in biological membranes and as a tool for the diagnosis of Niemann–Pick type C disease, a characteristic cholesterol overloaded lysosomal disorder of genetic origin, and as a probe for the detection and quantification of cholesterol in cellular membranes .
Filipin III is the major component of the filipin complex. In nature, filipin is produced as a mixture of related compounds known as the filipin complex (filipins I–IV) , out of which filipin III is the major component. Filipin III acts by binding cell membrane sterols, disrupting membrane integrity. This sterol selectivity has led to the use of filipin III as a routine diagnostic probe for quantifying cholesterol in mammalian cells.
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