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J Biol Chem. 2004 Oct 29;279(44):45685-92. Epub 2004 Aug 26.

Bile acid reduces the secretion of very low density lipoprotein by repressing microsomal triglyceride transfer protein gene expression mediated by hepatocyte nuclear factor-4.

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  • 1Department of Applied Biological Chemistry, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan.


Microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP) is involved in the transfer of triglycerides, cholesterol esters, and phospholipids to newly synthesized apolipoprotein (apo) B. It is therefore essential for lipoprotein synthesis and secretion in the liver and the small intestine. Although several recent experiments have revealed the transcriptional regulation of the MTP gene, little has been revealed to date about hepatocyte nuclear factor-4 (HNF-4)-dependent regulation. We here report that the human MTP gene promoter contains a pair of functional responsive elements for HNF-4 and HNF-1, the latter of which is another target gene of HNF-4. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays provide evidence that endogenous HNF-4 and HNF-1 can bind these elements in chromatin. In Hep G2 cells overexpression of either a dominant negative form of HNF-4 or small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) against HNF-4 dramatically reduces the activities of both the wild type and the HNF-4 site mutant MTP promoter. This suggests that HNF-4 regulates MTP gene expression either directly or indirectly through elevated HNF-1 levels. When Hep G2 cells were cultured with chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA), a ligand for the farnesoid X receptor (FXR), mRNA levels for MTP and apo B were reduced because of increased expression of the factor small heterodimer partner (SHP), which factor suppresses HNF-4 activities. Chenodeoxycholic acid, but not a synthetic FXR ligand, attenuated expression of HNF-4, bringing about a further suppression of MTP gene expression. Over time the intracellular MTP protein levels and apo B secretion in the culture medium significantly declined. These results indicate that two nuclear receptors, HNF-4 and FXR, are closely involved in MTP gene expression, and the results provide evidence for a novel interaction between bile acids and lipoprotein metabolism.

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