The carbohydrate-response element-binding protein (ChREBP) is a glucose-responsive transcription factor that plays an essential role in converting excess carbohydrate to fat storage in the liver. In response to glucose levels, ChREBP is regulated by nuclear/cytosol trafficking via interaction with 14-3-3 proteins, CRM-1 (exportin-1 or XPO-1), or importins. Nuclear localization of ChREBP was rapidly inhibited when incubated in branched-chain α-ketoacids, saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, or 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide ribonucleotide. Here, we discovered that protein-free extracts of high fat-fed livers contained, in addition to ketone bodies, a new metabolite, identified as AMP, which specifically activates the interaction between ChREBP and 14-3-3. The crystal structure showed that AMP binds directly to the N terminus of ChREBP-α2 helix. Our results suggest that AMP inhibits the nuclear localization of ChREBP through an allosteric activation of ChREBP/14-3-3 interactions and not by activation of AMPK. AMP and ketone bodies together can therefore inhibit lipogenesis by restricting localization of ChREBP to the cytoplasm during periods of ketosis.
Keywords: AMP; ChREBP; allosteric regulation; glucose metabolism; glucose sensing; hepatocyte; ketogenesis; lipogenesis; nuclear localization.
© 2016 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.