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Biochem J. 2004 Sep 15;382(Pt 3):913-21.

The nuclear bile acid receptor FXR is activated by PGC-1alpha in a ligand-dependent manner.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology, Biomolecular Engineering Research Institute (BERI), 6-2-3 Furuedai, Suita-City, Osaka 565-0874, Japan.


The nuclear bile acid receptor FXR (farnesoid X receptor) is one of the key factors that suppress bile acid biosynthesis in the liver. PGC-1alpha [PPARgamma (peroxisome-proliferator-activated receptor gamma) co-activator-1alpha] is known to control energy homoeostasis in adipose tissue, skeletal muscle and liver. We performed cell-based reporter assays using the expression system of a GAL4-FXR chimaera, the ligand-binding domain of FXR fused to the DNA-binding domain of yeast GAL4, to find the co-activators for FXR. We found that the transcriptional activation of a reporter plasmid by a GAL4-FXR chimaera was strongly enhanced by PGC-1alpha, in a ligand-dependent manner. Transcriptional activation of the SHP (small heterodimer partner) gene by the FXR-RXRalpha (retinoid X receptor alpha) heterodimer was also enhanced by PGC-1alpha in the presence of CDCA (chenodeoxycholic acid). Co-immunoprecipitation and pull-down studies using glutathione S-transferase-PGC-1alpha fusion proteins revealed that the ligand-binding domain of FXR binds PGC-1alpha in a ligand-influenced manner both in vivo and in vitro. Furthermore, our studies revealed that SHP represses its own transcription, and the addition of excess amounts of PGC-1alpha can overcome the inhibitory effect of SHP. These observations indicate that PGC-1alpha mediates the ligand-dependent activation of FXR and transcription of SHP gene.

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