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J Biol Chem. 1999 Aug 13;274(33):23577-83.

Sterol regulatory element binding protein-1 expression is suppressed by dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids. A mechanism for the coordinate suppression of lipogenic genes by polyunsaturated fats.

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  • 1Division of Nutritional Sciences and the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712, USA.


Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) coordinately suppress the transcription of a wide array of hepatic lipogenic genes including fatty acid synthase (FAS) and acetyl-CoA carboxylase. Interestingly, the over-expression of sterol regulatory element binding protein-1 (SREBP-1) induces the expression of all of the enzymes suppressed by PUFA. This observation led us to hypothesize that PUFA coordinately inhibit lipogenic gene transcription by suppressing the expression of SREBP-1. Our initial studies revealed that the SREBP-1 and FAS mRNA contents of HepG2 cells were reduced by 20:4(n-6) in a dose-dependent manner (i.e. EC(50) approximately 10 microM), whereas 18:1(n-9) had no effect. Similarly, supplementing a fat-free, high glucose diet with oils rich in (n-6) or (n-3) PUFA reduced the hepatic content of precursor and nuclear SREBP-1 60 and 85%, respectively; however, PUFA had no effect on the nuclear content of upstream stimulatory factor (USF)-1. The PUFA-dependent decrease in nuclear content of mature SREBP-1 was paralleled by a 70-90% suppression in FAS gene transcription. In contrast, dietary 18:1(n-9), i.e. triolein, had no inhibitory influence on the expression of SREBP-1 or FAS. The decrease in hepatic expression of SREBP-1 and FAS associated with PUFA ingestion was mimicked by supplementing the fat-free diet with the PPARalpha-activator, WY 14, 643. Interestingly, nuclear run-on assays revealed that changes in SREBP-1 mRNA abundance were not accompanied by changes in SREBP-1 gene transcription. These results support the concept that PUFA coordinately inhibit lipogenic gene transcription by suppressing the expression of SREBP-1 and that the PUFA regulation of SREBP-1 appears to occur at the post-transcriptional level.

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