Biological systems to sense and respond to metabolic perturbations are critical for the maintenance of cellular homeostasis. Here we describe a hepatic system in this context orchestrated by the transcriptional corepressor C-terminal binding protein 2 (CtBP2) that harbors metabolite-sensing capabilities. The repressor activity of CtBP2 is reciprocally regulated by NADH and acyl-CoAs. CtBP2 represses Forkhead box O1 (FoxO1)-mediated hepatic gluconeogenesis directly as well as Sterol Regulatory Element-Binding Protein 1 (SREBP1)-mediated lipogenesis indirectly. The activity of CtBP2 is markedly defective in obese liver reflecting the metabolic perturbations. Thus, liver-specific CtBP2 deletion promotes hepatic gluconeogenesis and accelerates the progression of steatohepatitis. Conversely, activation of CtBP2 ameliorates diabetes and hepatic steatosis in obesity. The structure-function relationships revealed in this study identify a critical structural domain called Rossmann fold, a metabolite-sensing pocket, that is susceptible to metabolic liabilities and potentially targetable for developing therapeutic approaches.
© 2021. The Author(s).