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J Biol Chem. 2002 Apr 5;277(14):11927-32. Epub 2002 Jan 24.

Down-regulation of adipose tissue lipoprotein lipase during fasting requires that a gene, separate from the lipase gene, is switched on.

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  • 1Department of Medical Bioscience, Umeå University, S-901 87 Umeå, Sweden.


During short term fasting, lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity in rat adipose tissue is rapidly down-regulated. This down-regulation occurs on a posttranslational level; it is not accompanied by changes in LPL mRNA or protein levels. The LPL activity can be restored within 4 h by refeeding. Previously, we showed that during fasting there is a shift in the distribution of lipase protein toward an inactive form with low heparin affinity. To study the nature of the regulatory mechanism, we determined the in vivo turnover of LPL activity, protein mass, and mRNA in rat adipose tissue. When protein synthesis was inhibited with cycloheximide, LPL activity and protein mass decreased rapidly and in parallel with half-lives of around 2 h, and the effect of refeeding was blocked. This indicates that maintaining high levels of LPL activity requires continuous synthesis of new enzyme protein. When transcription was inhibited by actinomycin, LPL mRNA decreased with half-lives of 13.3 and 16.8 h in the fed and fasted states, respectively, demonstrating slow turnover of the LPL transcript. Surprisingly, when actinomycin was given to fed rats, LPL activity was not down-regulated during fasting, indicating that actinomycin interferes with the transcription of a gene that blocks the activation of newly synthesized LPL protein. When actinomycin was given to fasted rats, LPL activity increased 4-fold within 6 h, even in the absence of refeeding. The same effect was seen with alpha-amanitin, another inhibitor of transcription. The response to actinomycin was much less pronounced in aging rats, which are obese and insulin-resistant. These data suggest a default state where LPL protein is synthesized on a relatively stable mRNA and is processed into its active form. During fasting, a gene is switched on whose product prevents the enzyme from becoming active even though synthesis of LPL protein continues unabated.

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