It has been suggested that glucose metabolites and insulin are the most important factors inducing ATP-citrate lyase (ACL) by a high carbohydrate diet. We have used a primary culture of rat hepatocytes to confirm the role of glucose and insulin in terms of ACL gene expression. The results showed that glucose displayed a direct effect on ACL gene expression and the insulin helps the glucose effect. The nucleotide sequences from -512 to -485 of the ACL promoter are highly homologous (70%) to the sequences surrounding the carbohydrate response element (ChoRE) of the S14 gene. The gel retardation analysis using ChoRE of the S14 gene showed that the ACL promoter which contains the ChoRE-like sequence specifically inhibited the formation of the complex by the nuclear proteins isolated from rat liver. To localize the regions which are involved in the regulation of ACL gene expression, transient expression assay using ACL promoter-CAT (chloramphenicol acetyltransferase) constructs containing various lengths of a 5' flanking region of the ACL gene were carried out. The proximal promoter region -419 to -1 containing several potential Sp1 binding sites showed the strong enhancing effect, which increases the transcription of CAT genes in the various cell lines, such as the CHO (Chinese hamster ovary) cell, the HepG2 cell, and primary cultured rat hepatocytes. In response to glucose, among the ACL promoter-CAT constructs, only pNP33-CAT (-1342 to -1) showed a 2.64 fold increase in CAT activity by a high concentration of glucose. The activation of ACL gene expression by glucose seems to be regulated in a complicated manner involving interactions between the contexts of the several sequence elements and various transacting factors, which is not a simple mechanism directed only by a short sequence element.
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