AMP-activated protein kinase-regulated activation of the PGC-1alpha promoter in skeletal muscle cells.
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The mechanisms by which PGC-1alpha gene expression is controlled in skeletal muscle remains largely undefined. Thus, we sought to investigate the transcriptional regulation of PGC-1alpha using AICAR, an activator of AMPK, that is known to increase PGC-1alpha expression. A 2.2 kb fragment of the human PGC-1alpha promoter was cloned and sequence analysis revealed that this TATA-less sequence houses putative consensus sites including a GC-box, a CRE, several IRSs, a SRE, binding sites for GATA, MEF2, p 53, NF-kappaB, and EBox binding proteins. AMPK activation for 24 hours increased PGC-1alpha promoter activity with concomitant increases in mRNA expression. The effect of AICAR on transcriptional activation was mediated by an overlapping GATA/EBox binding site at -495 within the PGC-1alpha promoter based on gel shift analyses that revealed increases in GATA/EBox DNA binding. Mutation of the EBox within the GATA/EBox binding site in the promoter reduced basal promoter activity and completely abolished the AICAR effect. Supershift analyses identified USF-1 as a DNA binding transcription factor potentially involved in regulating PGC-1alpha promoter activity, which was confirmed in vivo by ChIP. Overexpression of either GATA-4 or USF-1 alone increased the p851 PGC-1alpha promoter activity by 1.7- and 2.0-fold respectively, while co-expression of GATA-4 and USF-1 led to an additive increase in PGC-1alpha promoter activity. The USF-1-mediated increase in PGC-1alpha promoter activation led to similar increases at the mRNA level. Our data identify a novel AMPK-mediated regulatory pathway that regulates PGC-1alpha gene expression. This could represent a potential therapeutic target to control PGC-1alpha expression in skeletal muscle.
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