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Genes Nutr. 2015 Mar;10(2):452. doi: 10.1007/s12263-014-0452-0. Epub 2015 Jan 10.

PPARα via HNF4α regulates the expression of genes encoding hepatic amino acid catabolizing enzymes to maintain metabolic homeostasis.

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Facultad de Medicina, Programa de Doctorado en Ciencias Biomédicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 04510, Mexico, D.F., Mexico.


The liver is the main organ involved in the metabolism of amino acids (AA), which are oxidized by amino acid catabolizing enzymes (AACE). Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α (PPARα) stimulates fatty acid β-oxidation, and there is evidence that it can modulate hepatic AA oxidation during the transition of energy fuels. To understand the role and mechanism of PPARα's regulation of AA catabolism, the metabolic and molecular adaptations of Ppara-null mice were studied. The role of PPARα on AA metabolism was examined by in vitro and in vivo studies. In wild-type and Ppara-null mice, fed increasing concentrations of the dietary protein/carbohydrate ratio, we measured metabolic parameters, and livers were analyzed by microarray analysis, histology and Western blot. Functional enrichment analysis, EMSA and gene reporter assays were performed. Ppara-null mice presented increased expression of AACE in liver affecting AA, lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. Ppara-null mice had increased glucagon/insulin ratio (7.2-fold), higher serum urea (73.1 %), lower body protein content (19.7 %) and decreased several serum AA in response to a high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet. A functional network of differentially expressed genes, suggested that changes in the expression of AACE were regulated by an interrelationship between PPARα and HNF4α. Our data indicated that the expression of AACE is down-regulated through PPARα by attenuating HNF4α transcriptional activity as observed in the serine dehydratase gene promoter. PPARα via HNF4α maintains body protein metabolic homeostasis by down-regulating genes involved in amino acid catabolism for preserving body nitrogen.

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