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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2006 Mar;290(3):G476-85. Epub 2005 Nov 3.

The nuclear receptor for bile acids, FXR, transactivates human organic solute transporter-alpha and -beta genes.

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Laboratory of Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.


Bile acids are synthesized from cholesterol in the liver and are excreted into bile via the hepatocyte canalicular bile salt export pump. After their passage into the intestine, bile acids are reabsorbed in the ileum by sodium-dependent uptake across the apical membrane of enterocytes. At the basolateral domain of ileal enterocytes, bile acids are extruded into portal blood by the heterodimeric organic solute transporter OSTalpha/OSTbeta. Although the transport function of OSTalpha/OSTbeta has been characterized, little is known about the regulation of its expression. We show here that human OSTalpha/OSTbeta expression is induced by bile acids through ligand-dependent transactivation of both OST genes by the nuclear bile acid receptor/farnesoid X receptor (FXR). FXR agonists induced endogenous mRNA levels of OSTalpha and OSTbeta in cultured cells, an effect that was not discernible upon inhibition of FXR expression by small interfering RNAs. Furthermore, OST mRNAs were induced in human ileal biopsies exposed to the bile acid chenodeoxycholic acid. Reporter constructs containing OSTalpha or OSTbeta promoters were transactivated by FXR in the presence of its ligand. Two functional FXR binding motifs were identified in the OSTalpha gene and one in the OSTbeta gene. Targeted mutation of these elements led to reduced inducibility of both OST promoters by FXR. In conclusion, the genes encoding the human OSTalpha/OSTbeta complex are induced by bile acids and FXR. By coordinated control of OSTalpha/OSTbeta expression, bile acids may adjust the rate of their own efflux from enterocytes in response to changes in intracellular bile acid levels.

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