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Our aim was to compare the usefulness of fatty acid synthase (FASn) with that of α-methylacyl coenzyme-A racemase (AMACR) in the diagnosis of prostatic adenocarcinoma. The expression of these 2 markers was compared in a tissue microarray containing 62 foci of benign glands and 36 foci of prostatic adenocarcinoma. Similar to AMACR, there was significantly higher FASn expression in adenocarcinoma compared with that in benign glands. The optimal accuracy rate and area under curve (AUC) by receiver operating characteristic analysis for FASn were not significantly different from those for AMACR (accuracy, 80% vs 87%; AUC, 0.942 vs 0.956; P for both, > .05). Moreover, in cases with coexistent malignant and benign glands on the same core, FASn could selectively distinguish a proportion of cases (17/21 [81%]) similar to using AMACR. We conclude that FASn may aid in the diagnosis of prostatic adenocarcinoma, at least to supplement AMACR as another positive marker of carcinoma and potentially increase diagnostic accuracy.
The first dedicated step in de novo cholesterol biosynthesis begins with formation of squalene and ends with the reduction of 7-dehydrocholesterol by 7-dehydrocholesterol reductase (Dhcr7) into cholesterol, which is an essential structural and signaling molecule. Mutations in the Dhcr7 gene lead to Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLOS), which is characterized by developmental deformities, incomplete myelination, and mental retardation. To understand better the molecular consequences of Dhcr7 deficiency in neuronal tissue, we analyzed the effect of cholesterol deficiency on the transcriptome in Neuro2a cells. Transient down-regulation of Dhcr7 by siRNA led to altered expression of multiple molecules that play critical roles in intracellular signaling or vesicular transport or are inserted into membrane rafts (e.g. Egr1, Snx, and Adam19). A similar down-regulation was also observed in stable Dhrc7-shRNA-transfected cell lines, and the findings were verified by qPCR. Furthermore, we investigated the Dhcr7-deficient and control cells for the expression of several critical genes involved in lipid biosynthesis. Among these, fatty acid synthase, sterol-regulatory element binding protein 2, SREBF chaperone, site-1 protease, and squalene synthase showed a significant down-regulation, suggesting that, in a neuronal cell line, Dhcr7 is a potent regulator of lipid biosynthesis. Importantly, the gene expression changes were present in both lipid-containing and cholesterol-deficient media, suggesting that intrinsic cholesterol biosynthesis is necessary for normal neuronal function and cannot be supplemented from extrinsic sources.
Understanding the mechanisms that regulate feeding is critical to the development of therapeutic interventions for obesity. Many studies indicate that enzymes within fatty acid metabolic pathways may serve as targets for pharmacological tools to treat this epidemic. We, and others have previously demonstrated that C75, a fatty acid synthase (FAS) inhibitor, induced significant anorexia and weight loss by both central and peripheral mechanisms. Because the hypothalamus is important in the regulation of homeostatic processes for feeding control, we have identified pathways that alter the gene expression of FAS in primary hypothalamic neuronal cultures. Insulin, glucose and AICAR (an activator of AMP-activated protein kinase) affected changes in hypothalamic FAS mRNA, which may be regulated via the SREBP1c dependent or independent pathway.
A potential role for fatty acid metabolism in the regulation of energy balance in the brain or in the periphery has been considered only recently. Fatty acid synthase (FAS) catalyzes the synthesis of long-chain fatty acids, whereas the breakdown of fatty acids by beta-oxidation is regulated by carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1, the rate-limiting enzyme for the entry of fatty acids into the mitochondria for oxidation. While the question of the physiological role of fatty acid metabolism remains to be resolved, studies indicate that inhibition of FAS or stimulation of carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1 using cerulenin or synthetic FAS inhibitors reduces food intake and incurs profound and reversible weight loss. Several hypotheses regarding the mechanisms by which these small molecules mediate their effects have been entertained. Centrally, these compounds alter the expression of hypothalamic neuropeptides, generally reducing the expression of orexigenic peptides. Whether through central, peripheral, or combined central and peripheral mechanisms, these compounds also increase energy consumption to augment weight loss. In vitro and in vivo studies indicate that at least part of C75's effects is mediated by modulation of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase, a member of an energy-sensing kinase family. These compounds, with chronic treatment, also alter gene expression peripherally to favor a state of enhanced energy consumption. Together, these effects raise the possibility that pharmacological alterations in fatty acid synthesis/degradation may serve as a target for obesity therapeutics.
Mature alveolar type II cells that produce pulmonary surfactant are essential for adaptation to extrauterine life. We profiled gene expression in human fetal lung epithelial cells cultured in serum-free medium containing dexamethasone and cyclic AMP, a treatment that induces differentiation of type II cells. Microarray analysis identified 388 genes that were induced > 1.5-fold by 72 h of hormone treatment. Induced genes represented all categories of molecular function and subcellular location, with increased frequency in the categories of ionic channel, cell adhesion, surface film, lysosome, extracellular matrix, and basement membrane. In time-course experiments, self-organizing map analysis identified a cluster of 17 genes that were slowly but highly induced (5- to approximately 190-fold) and represented four functional categories: surfactant-related (SFTPC, SFTPA, PGC, SFTPB, LAMP3, LPL), regulatory (WIF2, IGF2, IL1RL1, NR4A2, HIF3A), metabolic (MAOA, ADH1B, SEPP1), and transport (SCNN1A, CLDN18, AQP4). Induction of both mRNA and protein for these genes, which included nine newly identified regulated genes, was confirmed, and cellular localization was determined in both fetal and postnatal tissue. Induction of lysosomal-associated membrane protein 3 required both hormones, and expression was localized to limiting membranes of lamellar bodies. Hormone-induced differentiation of human type II cells is associated with genome-wide increased expression of genes with diverse functions.
Hepatic glucokinase (GK) catalyzes the phosphorylation of glucose to glucose 6-phosphate (G6P), a step which is essential for glucose metabolism in liver as well as for the induction of glycolytic and lipogenic genes. The sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1c (SREBP-1c) has emerged as a major mediator of insulin action on hepatic gene expression, but the extent to which its transcriptional effect is caused by an increased glucose metabolism remains unclear. Through the use of hepatic GK knockout mice (hGK-KO) we have shown that the acute stimulation by glucose of l-pyruvate kinase (l-PK), fatty acid synthase (FAS), acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC), and Spot 14 genes requires GK expression. To determine whether the effect of SREBP-1c requires GK expression and subsequent glucose metabolism, a transcriptionally active form of SREBP-1c was overexpressed both in vivo and in primary cultures of control and hGK-KO hepatocytes. Our results demonstrate that the synergistic action of SREBP-1c and glucose metabolism via GK is necessary for the maximal induction of l-PK, ACC, FAS, and Spot 14 gene expression. Indeed, in hGK-KO hepatocytes overexpressing SREBP-1c, the effect of glucose on glycolytic and lipogenic genes is lost because of the impaired ability of these hepatocytes to efficiently metabolize glucose, despite a marked increase in low K(m) hexokinase activity. Our studies also reveal that the loss of glucose effect observed in hGK-KO hepatocytes is associated with a decreased in the carbohydrate responsive element-binding protein (ChREBP) gene expression, a transcription factor suggested to mediate glucose signaling in liver. Decreased ChREBP gene expression, achieved using small interfering RNA, results in a loss of glucose effect on endogenous glycolytic (l-PK) and lipogenic (FAS, ACC) gene expression, thereby demonstrating the direct implication of ChREBP in glucose action. Together these results support a model whereby both SREBP-1c and glucose metabolism, acting via ChREBP, are necessary for the dietary induction of glycolytic and lipogenic gene expression in liver.
Mature alveolar type II cells that produce pulmonary surfactant are essential for adaptation to extrauterine life and prevention of infant respiratory distress syndrome. We have developed a new in vitro model to further investigate regulation of type II cell differentiation. Epithelial cells isolated from human fetal lung were cultured in serum-free medium on plastic. Cells treated with dexamethasone + cAMP analog and isobutylmethylxanthine for 4 days exhibited increased phosphatidylcholine synthesis and content of disaturated phosphatidylcholine species, manyfold increases in all surfactant proteins with processing to mature forms, and abundant lamellar bodies. DNA microarray analysis identified approximately 3,100 expressed genes, including subsets of genes induced 2- to >100-fold (approximately 2.5%) or repressed 2- to 18-fold (approximately 1.2%) by hormone treatment. Of the highly regulated genes, most were coregulated in an additive or synergistic manner by dexamethasone and cAMP agents. Approximately 90% of the regulated genes identified by this initial microarray analysis have not been previously recognized as hormone responsive. One newly identified hormone-induced gene is Nkx2.1 (thyroid transcription factor-1), which has a critical role in surfactant protein gene expression. Our findings indicate that glucocorticoid + cAMP is sufficient and necessary for precocious induction of functional type II cells in this in vitro system and that these hormones act primarily in combination to regulate expression of a subset of specific genes.
Recent studies on the in vivo roles of the sterol regulatory element binding protein (SREBP) family indicate that SREBP-2 is more specific to cholesterogenic gene expression whereas SREBP-1 targets lipogenic genes. To define the molecular mechanism involved in this differential regulation, luciferase-reporter gene assays were performed in HepG2 cells to compare the transactivities of nuclear SREBP-1a, -1c, and -2 on a battery of SREBP-target promoters containing sterol regulatory element (SRE), SRE-like, or E-box sequences. The results show first that cholesterogenic genes containing classic SREs in their promoters are strongly and efficiently activated by both SREBP-1a and SREBP-2, but not by SREBP-1c. Second, an E-box containing reporter gene is much less efficiently activated by SREBP-1a and -1c, and SREBP-2 was inactive in spite of its ability to bind to the E-box. Third, promoters of lipogenic enzymes containing variations of SRE (SRE-like sequences) are strongly activated by SREBP-1a, and only modestly and equally by both SREBP-1c and -2. Finally, substitution of the unique tyrosine residue within the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) portion of nuclear SREBPs with arginine, the conserved residue found in all other bHLH proteins, abolishes the transactivity of all SREBPs for SRE, and conversely results in markedly increased activity of SREBP-1 but not activity of SREBP-2 for E-boxes. These data demonstrate the different specificity and affinity of nuclear SREBP-1 and -2 for different target DNAs, explaining a part of the mechanism behind the differential in vivo regulation of cholesterogenic and lipogenic enzymes by SREBP-1 and -2, respectively.
In vivo studies suggest that sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP)-1 plays a key role in the up-regulation of lipogenic genes in the livers of animals that have consumed excess amounts of carbohydrates. In light of this, we sought to use an established mouse hepatocyte cell line, H2-35, to further define the mechanism by which glucose regulates nuclear SREBP-1 levels. First, we show that these cells transcribe high levels of SREBP-1c that are increased 4-fold upon differentiation from a prehepatocyte to a hepatocyte phenotype, making them an ideal cell culture model for the study of SREBP-1c induction. Second, we demonstrate that the presence of precursor and mature forms of SREBP-1 protein are positively regulated by medium glucose concentrations ranging from 5. 5 to 25 mm and are also regulated by insulin, with the amount of insulin in the fetal bovine serum being sufficient for maximal stimulation of SREBP-1 expression. Third, we show that the increase in SREBP-1 protein is due to an increase in SREBP-1 mRNA. Reporter gene analysis of the SREBP-1c promoter demonstrated a glucose-dependent induction of transcription. In contrast, expression of a fixed amount of the precursor form of SREBP-1c protein showed that glucose does not influence its cleavage. Fourth, we demonstrate that the glucose induction of SREBP could not be reproduced by fructose, xylose, or galactose nor by glucose analogs 2-deoxy glucose and 3-O-methyl glucopyranose. These data provide strong evidence for the induction of SREBP-1c mRNA by glucose leading to increased mature protein in the nucleus, thus providing a potential mechanism for the up-regulation of lipogenic genes by glucose in vivo.
To elucidate the physiological role of sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1 (SREBP-1), the hepatic mRNA levels of genes encoding various lipogenic enzymes were estimated in SREBP-1 gene knockout mice after a fasting-refeeding treatment, which is an established dietary manipulation for the induction of lipogenic enzymes. In the fasted state, the mRNA levels of all lipogenic enzymes were consistently low in both wild-type and SREBP-1(-/-) mice. However, the absence of SREBP-1 severely impaired the marked induction of hepatic mRNAs of fatty acid synthetic genes, such as acetyl-CoA carboxylase, fatty acid synthase, and stearoyl-CoA desaturase, that was observed upon refeeding in the wild-type mice. Furthermore, the refeeding responses of other lipogenic enzymes, glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase, ATP citrate lyase, malic enzyme, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, and S14 mRNAs, were completely abolished in SREBP-1(-/-) mice. In contrast, mRNA levels for cholesterol biosynthetic genes were elevated in the refed SREBP-1(-/-) livers accompanied by an increase in nuclear SREBP-2 protein. When fed a high carbohydrate diet for 14 days, the mRNA levels for these lipogenic enzymes were also strikingly lower in SREBP-1(-/-) mice than those in wild-type mice. These data demonstrate that SREBP-1 plays a crucial role in the induction of lipogenesis but not cholesterol biosynthesis in liver when excess energy by carbohydrates is consumed.