Sterol regulatory element binding protein 1c (SREBP1c) is a master regulator of lipogenic gene expression in liver and adipose tissue, where its expression is regulated by a heterodimer of nuclear receptor-type transcription factors retinoid X receptor-α (RXRα) and liver X receptor-α (LXRα). Despite the potential importance of SREBP1c in skeletal muscle, little is known about the regulation of SREBP1c in that setting. Herewereport that gene expression of RXRγ is markedly decreased by fasting and is restored by refeeding in mouse skeletal muscle, in parallel with changes in gene expression of SREBP1c. RXRγ or RXRα, together with LXRα, activate the SREBP1c promoter in vitro. Moreover, transgenic mice over-expressing RXRγ specifically in skeletal muscle showed increased gene expression of SREBP1c with increased triglyceride content in their skeletal muscles. In contrast, transgenic mice overexpressing the dominant-negative form of RXRγ showed decreased SREBP1c gene expression. The expression of Forkhead-O1 transcription factor (FOXO1), which can suppress the function of multiple nuclear receptors, is negatively correlated to that of SREBP1c in skeletal muscle during nutritional change. Moreover, transgenic mice overexpressing FOXO1 specifically in skeletal muscle exhibited decreased gene expression of both RXRγ and SREBP1c. In addition, FOXO1 suppressed RXRα/LXRα-mediated SREBP1c promoter activity in vitro. These findings provide in vivo and in vitro evidence that RXR/LXR up-regulates SREBP1c gene expression and that FOXO1 antagonizes this effect of RXR/LXR in skeletal muscle.
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