MECR (mitochondrial 2-enoyl-acyl-carrier protein reductase) is an enzyme in the mitochondrial fatty acid synthase (mtFAS) pathway. MECR activity remains unknown in the mechanism of insulin resistance in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. In this study, MECR activity was investigated in diet-induced obese (DIO) mice. Mecr mRNA was induced by insulin in cell culture, and was elevated in the liver of DIO mice in the presence hyperinsulinemia. However, MECR protein was decreased in the liver of DIO mice, and the reduction was blocked by treatment of the DIO mice with berberine (BBR). The mechanism of MECR protein regulation was investigated with a focus on ATP. The protein was decreased in the cell lysate and DIO liver by an increase in ATP levels. The ATP protein reduction was blocked in the liver of BBR-treated mice by suppression of ATP elevation. The MERC protein reduction was associated with insulin resistance and the protein restoration was associated with improvement of insulin sensitivity by BBR in the DIO mice. The data suggests that MECR protein is regulated in hepatocytes by ATP in association with insulin resistance. The study provides evidence for a relationship of MECR protein and insulin resistance.

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