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Logo of jcinvestThe Journal of Clinical InvestigationCurrent IssueArchiveSubscriptionAbout the Journal
J Clin Invest. Mar 1, 1997; 99(5): 846–854.
PMCID: PMC507891

Isoform 1c of sterol regulatory element binding protein is less active than isoform 1a in livers of transgenic mice and in cultured cells.


We have produced transgenic mice whose livers express a dominant positive NH2-terminal fragment of sterol regulatory element binding protein-1c (SREBP-1c). Unlike full-length SREBP-1c, the NH2-terminal fragment enters the nucleus without a requirement for proteolytic release from cell membranes, and hence it is immune to downregulation by sterols. We compared SREBP-1c transgenic mice with a line of transgenic mice that produces an equal amount of the NH2-terminal fragment of SREBP-1a. SREBP-1a and -1c are alternate transcripts from a single gene that differ in the first exon, which encodes part of an acidic activation domain. The 1a protein contains a long activation domain with 12 negatively charged amino acids, whereas the 1c protein contains a short activation domain with only 6 such amino acids. As previously reported, livers of the SREBP-1a transgenic mice were massively enlarged, owing to accumulation of triglycerides and cholesterol. SREBP-1c transgenic livers were only slightly enlarged with only a moderate increase in triglycerides, but not cholesterol. The mRNAs for the LDL receptor and several cholesterol biosynthetic enzymes were elevated in SREBP-la transgenic mice, but not in 1c transgenic mice. The mRNAs for fatty acid synthase and acetyl CoA carboxylase were elevated 9- and 16-fold in la animals, but only 2- and 4-fold in 1c animals. Experiments with transfected cells confirmed that SREBP-1c is a much weaker activator of transcription than SREBP-1a when both are expressed at levels approximating those found in nontransfected cells. SREBP-1c became a strong activator only when expressed at supraphysiologic levels. We conclude that SREBP-1a is the most active form of SREBP-1 and that SREBP-1c may be produced when cells require a lower rate of transcription of genes regulating cholesterol and fatty acid metabolism.

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Selected References

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