NRs (nuclear receptors) regulate the expression of specific gene networks in target cells by recruiting cofactor complexes involved in chromatin remodelling and in the assembly of transcription complexes. The importance of activating gene expression, in metabolic tissues, is well established, but the contribution of transcriptional inhibition is less well defined. In this review, we highlight a crucial role for RIP140 (receptor-interacting protein 140), a transcriptional co-repressor for NR, in the regulation of metabolic gene expression. Many genes involved in lipid and carbohydrate metabolism are repressed by RIP140 in adipose and muscle. The repressive function of RIP140 results from its ability to bridge NRs to repressive enzyme complexes that modify DNA and histones. In the absence of RIP140, expression from many metabolic genes is increased so that mice exhibit a lean phenotype and resistance to high-fat-diet-induced obesity and display increased glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. We propose that a functional interplay between transcriptional activators and the co-repressor RIP140 is an essential process in metabolic regulation.

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