Transactivation by PPAR/RXR heterodimers in yeast is potentiated by exogenous fatty acid via a pathway requiring intact peroxisomes.
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Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are orphan members of the nuclear hormone receptor superfamily. PPARs bind to cognate response elements through heterodimerization with retinoid X receptors (RXRs). Together PPAR/RXR regulate the transcription of genes for which products are involved in lipid homeostasis, cell growth, and differentiation. PPARs are activated by fatty acids and by nongenotoxic rodent hepatocarcinogens called peroxisome proliferators through as of yet undefined signal transduction pathways. In an effort to elucidate the requirements for PPAR function and the pathways of its activation, we expressed mouse PPAR alpha and human RXR alpha in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Mouse PPAR alpha and human RXR alpha had little activity individually in yeast; however, when cosynthesized, they were able to synergistically activate transcription via cognate response elements. Transactivation was independent of exogenously added activators of either receptor but was potentiated by the addition of petroselinic acid, a fatty acid shown to activate PPARs in mammalian cells. Similar experiments were carried out in a mutant yeast strain lacking peroxisomes entirely or in a mutant strain deficient for 3-ketoacyl-CoA thiolase, the final enzyme of the peroxisomal beta-oxidation cascade. The findings showed that constitutive transactivation by PPAR/RXR did not require the complete beta-oxidation pathway or intact peroxisomes but required intact peroxisomes for potentiation by exogenously added petroselinic acid. This study demonstrates that at least part of the mammalian peroxisome proliferator-signaling pathway can be faithfully reconstituted in yeast and that activation of PPAR by at least one particular fatty acid requires the integrity of peroxisomes.
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