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Mol Endocrinol. 2007 Sep;21(9):2152-63. Epub 2007 Jun 5.

Nur77 coordinately regulates expression of genes linked to glucose metabolism in skeletal muscle.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095-1662, USA.


Innervation is important for normal metabolism in skeletal muscle, including insulin-sensitive glucose uptake. However, the transcription factors that transduce signals from the neuromuscular junction to the nucleus and affect changes in metabolic gene expression are not well defined. We demonstrate here that the orphan nuclear receptor Nur77 is a regulator of gene expression linked to glucose utilization in muscle. In vivo, Nur77 is preferentially expressed in glycolytic compared with oxidative muscle and is responsive to beta-adrenergic stimulation. Denervation of rat muscle compromises expression of Nur77 in parallel with that of numerous genes linked to glucose metabolism, including glucose transporter 4 and genes involved in glycolysis, glycogenolysis, and the glycerophosphate shuttle. Ectopic expression of Nur77, either in rat muscle or in C2C12 muscle cells, induces expression of a highly overlapping set of genes, including glucose transporter 4, muscle phosphofructokinase, and glycogen phosphorylase. Furthermore, selective knockdown of Nur77 in rat muscle by small hairpin RNA or genetic deletion of Nur77 in mice reduces the expression of a battery of genes involved in skeletal muscle glucose utilization in vivo. Finally, we show that Nur77 binds the promoter regions of multiple genes involved in glucose metabolism in muscle. These results identify Nur77 as a potential mediator of neuromuscular signaling in the control of metabolic gene expression.

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