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J Biol Chem. 2010 Nov 19;285(47):36401-9. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.172866. Epub 2010 Sep 17.

Transcriptional repressor E4-binding protein 4 (E4BP4) regulates metabolic hormone fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) during circadian cycles and feeding.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA.


Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) is a potent antidiabetic and triglyceride-lowering hormone whose hepatic expression is highly responsive to food intake. FGF21 induction in the adaptive response to fasting has been well studied, but the molecular mechanism responsible for feeding-induced repression remains unknown. In this study, we demonstrate a novel link between FGF21 and a key circadian output protein, E4BP4. Expression of Fgf21 displays a circadian rhythm, which peaks during the fasting phase and is anti-phase to E4bp4, which is elevated during feeding periods. E4BP4 strongly suppresses Fgf21 transcription by binding to a D-box element in the distal promoter region. Depletion of E4BP4 in synchronized Hepa1c1c-7 liver cells augments the amplitude of Fgf21 expression, and overexpression of E4BP4 represses FGF21 secretion from primary mouse hepatocytes. Mimicking feeding effects, insulin significantly increases E4BP4 expression and binding to the Fgf21 promoter through AKT activation. Thus, E4BP4 is a novel insulin-responsive repressor of FGF21 expression during circadian cycles and feeding.

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