Sara Connaughton

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN, United States

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Publications (2)8.48 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Long chain fatty acids and pharmacologic ligands for the peroxisome proliferator activated receptor alpha (PPARalpha) activate expression of genes involved in fatty acid and glucose oxidation including carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1A (CPT-1A) and pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 (PDK4). CPT-1A catalyzes the transfer of long chain fatty acids from acyl-CoA to carnitine for translocation across the mitochondrial membranes and is an initiating step in the mitochondrial oxidation of long chain fatty acids. PDK4 phosphorylates and inhibits the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC) which catalyzes the conversion of pyruvate to acetyl-CoA in the glucose oxidation pathway. The activity of CPT-1A is modulated both by transcriptional changes as well as by malonyl-CoA inhibition. In the liver, CPT-1A and PDK4 gene expression are induced by starvation, high fat diets and PPARalpha ligands. Here, we characterized a binding site for PPARalpha in the second intron of the rat CPT-1A gene. Our studies indicated that WY14643 and long chain fatty acids induce CPT-1A gene expression through this element. In addition, we found that mutation of the PPARalpha binding site reduced the expression of CPT-1A-luciferase vectors in the liver of fasted rats. We had demonstrated previously that CPT-1A was stimulated by the peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma coactivator (PGC-1) via sequences in the first intron of the rat CPT-1A gene. Surprisingly, PGC-1alpha did not enhance CPT-1A transcription through the PPARalpha binding site in the second intron. Following knockdown of PGC-1alpha with short hairpin RNA, the CPT-1A and PDK4 genes remained responsive to WY14643. Overall, our studies indicated that PPARalpha and PGC-1alpha stimulate transcription of the CPT-1A gene through different regions of the CPT-1A gene.
    Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 08/2010; 325(1-2):54-63. · 4.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC) catalyzes the conversion of pyruvate to acetyl-CoA in mitochondria and is a key regulatory enzyme in the oxidation of glucose to acetyl-CoA. Phosphorylation of PDC by the pyruvate dehydrogenase kinases (PDK) inhibits its activity. The expression of the pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 (PDK4) gene is increased in fasting and other conditions associated with the switch from the utilization of glucose to fatty acids as an energy source. Transcription of the PDK4 gene is elevated by glucocorticoids and inhibited by insulin. In this study, we have investigated the factors involved in the regulation of the PDK4 gene by these hormones. Glucocorticoids stimulate PDK4 through two glucocorticoid receptor (GR) binding sites located more than 6000 base pairs upstream of the transcriptional start site. Insulin inhibits the glucocorticoid induction in part by causing dissociation of the GR from the promoter. Previously, we found that the estrogen related receptor alpha (ERRα) stimulates the expression of PDK4. Here, we determined that one of the ERRα binding sites contributes to the insulin inhibition of PDK4. A binding site for the forkhead transcription factor (FoxO1) is adjacent to the ERRα binding sites. FoxO1 participates in the glucocorticoid induction of PDK4 and the regulation of this gene by insulin. Our data demonstrate that glucocorticoids and insulin each modulate PDK4 gene expression through complex hormone response units that contain multiple factors.
    Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 09/2009; · 4.24 Impact Factor