Docosahexaenoic Acid Inhibits Proteolytic Processing of Sterol Regulatory Element-binding Protein-1c (SREBP-1c) via Activation of AMP-activated Kinase

Xiong Deng, Qingming Dong, , Rajendra Raghow, Edwards Park and Marshal Elam

Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids 2015. 185: 1521-9.


In hyperinsulinemic states including obesity and T2DM, overproduction of fatty acid and triglyceride contributes to steatosis of the liver, hyperlipidemia and hepatic insulin resistance. This effect is mediated in part by the transcriptional regulator sterol responsive element binding protein-1c (SREBP-1c), which stimulates the expression of genes involved in hepatic fatty acid and triglyceride synthesis. SREBP-1c is up regulated by insulin both via increased transcription of nascent full-length SREBP-1c and by enhanced proteolytic processing of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-bound precursor to yield the transcriptionally active n-terminal form, nSREBP-1c. Polyunsaturated fatty acids of marine origin (n-3 PUFA) prevent induction of SREBP-1c by insulin thereby reducing plasma and hepatic triglycerides. Despite widespread use of n-3 PUFA supplements to reduce triglycerides in clinical practice, the exact mechanisms underlying their hypotriglyceridemic effect remains elusive. Here we demonstrate that the n-3 PUFA docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:5 n-3) reduces nSREBP-1c by inhibiting regulated intramembrane proteolysis (RIP) of the nascent SREBP-1c. We further show that this effect of DHA is mediated both via activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and by inhibition of mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1). The inhibitory effect of AMPK on SREBP-1c processing is linked to phosphorylation of serine 365 of SREBP-1c in the rat. We have defined a novel regulatory mechanism by which n-3 PUFA inhibit induction of SREBP-1c by insulin. These findings identify AMPK as an important negative regulator of hepatic lipid synthesis and as a potential therapeutic target for hyperlipidemia in obesity and T2DM.


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