FDPS (farnesyl diphosphate synthase) catalyses the formation of farnesyl diphosphate, a key intermediate in the synthesis of cholesterol and isoprenylated cellular metabolites. FDPS is also the molecular target of nitrogen-containing bisphosphonates, which are used as bone-antiresorptive drugs in various disorders. In the present study, we characterized the sterol-response element and NF-Y (nuclear factor Y)-binding site in the human FDPS promoter. Using a luciferase assay, electrophoretic mobility-shift assay and chromatin immunoprecipitation assay, we demonstrated that these elements are responsible for the transcription of the FDPS gene, and that its transcriptional activation is mediated by SREBP-2 (sterol-regulatory-element-binding protein 2) and NF-Y. We also investigated whether sterol-mediated FDPS expression is involved in the cell proliferation induced by zoledronic acid, an FDPS inhibitor. We show that the SREBP-2- and NF-Y-mediated regulation of FDPS gene transcription modulates cell proliferation. These results suggest that SREBP-2 and NF-Y are required to trigger cell proliferation through the induction of FDPS expression and that the pharmacological action of zoledronic acid is involved in this pathway.

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