Regulation of sterol regulatory element-binding proteins (SREBPs) by fatty acid flux was investigated in CaCo-2 cells. Cells were incubated with 1mM taurocholate with or without 250μM 18:0, 18:1, 18:2, 20:4, 20:5 or 22:6 fatty acids. Fatty acid synthase (FAS) and acetyl-CoA carboxylase mRNA levels and gene and protein expression of SREBPs were estimated. 18:2, 20:4, 20:5 and 22:6 fatty acids decreased the amount of mature SREBP-1 and mRNA levels of SREBP-1c, SREBP-1a, FAS and acetyl-CoA carboxylase. SREBP-2 gene or mature protein expression was not altered. Liver X receptor (LXR) activation by T0901317 increased gene expression of SREBP-1c, SREBP-1a, FAS and acetyl-CoA carboxylase without altering SREBP-2. 20:5, but not 18:1, prevented the full expression of SREBP-1c mRNA by T0901317. T0901317 increased SREBP-1 mass without altering the mass of mature SREBP-2. Although only 18:2, 20:4, 20:5 and 22:6 suppressed SREBP-1, acetyl-CoA carboxylase and FAS expression, all fatty acids decreased the rate of fatty acid synthesis. T0901317 increased endogenous fatty acid synthesis yet did not increase secretion of triacylglycerol-rich lipoproteins. In CaCo-2 cells, polyunsaturated fatty acids decrease gene and protein expression of SREBP-1 and FAS mRNA, probably through interference with LXR activity. Since all fatty acids decreased fatty acid synthesis, mechanisms other than changes in SREBP-1c expression must be entertained. Increased endogenous fatty acid synthesis does not promote triacylglycerol-rich lipoprotein secretion.

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