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Diabetologia. 2014 Mar;57(3):592-602. doi: 10.1007/s00125-013-3136-1. Epub 2013 Dec 21.

Role for sterol regulatory element binding protein-1c activation in mediating skeletal muscle insulin resistance via repression of rat insulin receptor substrate-1 transcription.

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Department of Endocrinology, Drum Tower hospital affiliated to Nanjing University Medical School, No321 Zhongshan Road, Nanjing, 210008, People's Republic of China,



Sterol regulatory element binding protein-1c (SREBP-1c) is a master regulator of fatty acid synthase and controls lipogenesis. IRS-1 is the key insulin signalling mediator in skeletal muscle. In the present study, we investigated the role of SREBP-1c in the regulation of IRS-1 in skeletal muscle cells.


L6 muscle cells were treated with palmitic acid (PA) or metformin. Adenovirus vectors expressing Srebp-1c (also known as Srebf1) and small interfering RNA (siRNA) against Srebp-1c were transfected into the L6 cells. Protein-DNA interactions were assessed by luciferase reporter analysis, electrophoretic mobility shift assay and chromatin immunoprecipitation assay.


We found that both gene and protein expression of SREBP-1c was increased in contrast to IRS-1 expression in PA-treated L6 cells. SREBP-1c overproduction decreased Irs-1 mRNA and IRS-1 protein expression in a dose-dependent manner, and suppressed the resultant insulin signalling, whereas SERBP-1c knockdown by Serbp-1c siRNA blocked the downregulation of IRS-1 induced by PA. Protein-DNA interaction studies demonstrated that SREBP-1c was able to bind to the rat Irs-1 promoter region, thereby repressing its gene transcription. Of particular importance, we found that metformin treatment downregulated Srebp-1c promoter activity, decreased the specific binding of SREBP-1c to Irs-1 promoter and upregulated Irs-1 promoter activity in PA-cultured L6 cells.


Our data indicate for the first time that SREBP-1c activation participates in skeletal muscle insulin resistance through a direct effect of suppressing Irs-1 transcription. These findings imply that SREBP-1c could serve as an attractive therapeutic target for insulin resistance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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