Endogenous fatty acid synthesis has been observed in certain rapidly proliferating normal and neoplastic tissues. Sterol regulatory element-binding proteins (SREBPs) are transcription factors that regulate the expression of lipogenic genes including fatty acid synthase (FAS), the major biosynthetic enzyme for fatty acid synthesis. We have previously shown that SREBP-1, FAS, and Ki-67, a proliferation marker, colocalized in the crypts of the fetal gastrointestinal tract epithelium. This study sought to determine whether SREBP-1 participates in the regulation of proliferation-associated fatty acid synthesis in colorectal neoplasia. An immunohistochemical analysis of SREBP-1, FAS, and Ki-67 expression in 25 primary human colorectal carcinoma specimens showed colocalization in 22 of these. To elucidate a functional linkage between SREBP-1 activation and proliferation-associated FA synthesis, SREBP-1 and FAS content were assayed during the adaptive response of cultured HCT116 colon carcinoma cells to pharmacological inhibition of FA synthesis. Cerulenin and TOFA each inhibited the endogenous synthesis of fatty acids in a dose-dependent manner and each induced increases in both precursor and mature forms of SREBP-1. Subsequently, both the transcriptional activity of the FAS promoter in a luciferase reporter gene construct and the FAS expression increased. These results demonstrate that tumor cells recognize and respond to a deficiency in endogenous fatty acid synthesis by upregulating both SREBP-1 and FAS expression and support the model that SREBP-1 participates in the transcriptional regulation of lipogenic genes in colorectal neoplasia.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.