Dietary PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids) co-ordinately suppress transcription of a group of hepatic genes encoding glycolytic and lipogenic enzymes. Suppression of Fasn (fatty acid synthase) transcription involves two PUFA-responsive regions, but the majority of PUFA sensitivity maps to a region within the proximal promoter containing binding sites for NF-Y (nuclear factor-Y), Sp1 (stimulatory protein 1), SREBP (sterol-regulatory-elementbinding protein), and USF (upstream stimulatory factor). Promoter activation assays indicate that altered NF-Y is the key component in regulation of Fasn promoter activity by PUFA. Using electrophoretic mobility-shift assay and chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis, we demonstrate for the first time that PUFAs decrease in vivo binding of NF-Y and SREBP-1c to the proximal promoter of the hepatic Fasn gene and the promoters of three additional genes, spot 14, stearoyl-CoA desaturase and farnesyl diphosphate synthase that are also down-regulated by PUFA. The comparable 50% decrease in NF-Y and SREBP-1c binding to the promoters of the respective PUFA-sensitive genes occurred despite no change in nuclear NF-Y content and a 4-fold decrease in SREBP-1c. Together, these findings support a mechanism whereby PUFA reciprocally regulates the binding of NF-Y and SREBP-1c to a subset of genes which share similar contiguous arrangements of sterol regulatory elements and NF-Y response elements within their promoters. PUFA-dependent regulation of SREBP-1c and NF-Y binding to this unique configuration of response elements may represent a nutrient-sensitive motif through which PUFA selectively and co-ordinately targets subsets of hepatic genes involved in lipid metabolism.

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