Feeding previously starved chicks with a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet stimulates a 9-fold increase in both the rate of synthesis of acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) and the abundance of its mRNA in liver. To define the steps involved in mediating diet-induced changes in the abundance of ACC mRNA, transcriptional activity was measured with the nuclear run-on assay and multiple DNA probes specific to the ACC gene. ACC transcription was low in livers of starved chicks; feeding them with a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet induced ACC transcription, increasing it 11-fold. An increase in transcription was detectable at 1 h, was maximal at 5 h and remained high for 26 h. Feeding previously starved chicks with a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet stimulated a smaller increase (4-fold) in the abundance of ACC mRNA and the transcription of ACC than feeding with a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet. The half-life of ACC mRNA in liver, as estimated from the kinetics of accumulation and decay of ACC mRNA during high-carbohydrate feeding and starvation, was not changed significantly by dietary manipulation. ACC mRNA was expressed at low levels in heart, pectoral muscle, kidney and brain. The abundance of ACC mRNA in these tissues was not affected by nutritional manipulation. These results demonstrate that nutritional control of the abundance of ACC mRNA in the chicken is liver-specific and is mediated primarily by changes in the rate of transcription of the ACC gene.

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