S6 kinase 2 deficiency enhances ketone body production and increases peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha activity in the liver

Hepatology. 2012 Jun;55(6):1727-37. doi: 10.1002/hep.25537. Epub 2012 Mar 8.


Nutrient homeostasis is tightly regulated by the balance between energy production and utilization. During fasting, production of ketone bodies as an alternative energy source is critical to maintain nutrient homeostasis. An important component in the nutrient-sensitive signaling pathway is S6 kinase 2 (S6K2), a downstream effector of mammalian target of rapamycin. Here, we show that mice lacking S6K2 exhibit elevated levels of ketone bodies and enhanced peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARα) activity upon nutrient availability. Consistent with this, knockdown of S6K2 increases the transcriptional activity of PPARα. S6K2 suppresses PPARα by associating with its corepressor, nuclear receptor corepressor 1 (NCoR1), and by inducing the recruitment of NCoR1 to the nucleus. Moreover, ob/ob mice, a genetic model of obesity, have markedly elevated S6K2 activity, and S6K2 was strongly associated with NCoR1 in the nucleus of liver cells.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that S6K2 regulates hepatic energy homeostasis by repressing PPARα activity and point to its potential relevance for therapeutic strategies designed to modulate S6K2 activity as a treatment for deregulated ketone body production.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ketone Bodies / biosynthesis*
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Nuclear Receptor Co-Repressor 1 / physiology
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • PPAR alpha / physiology*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Proteins / physiology
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases / deficiency
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases / metabolism*
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Ketone Bodies
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Ncor1 protein, mouse
  • Nuclear Receptor Co-Repressor 1
  • PPAR alpha
  • Proteins
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases