The liver as the central organ is responsible for lipogenesis, gluconeogenesis and one-carbon metabolism. Methyl donors (e.g., betaine) modulate metabolic homeostasis and gene regulation through one-carbon metabolism. MiR-143 regulates DNA methylation by targeting DNMT3A, thereby suggesting that this miRNA participates in one-carbon metabolic pathways. However, the effect and mechanism that regulate glucose and lipid metabolism via the methyl group metabolism pathway remain elusive. In this study, we found that a betaine supplement and miR-143 KO significantly promoted lipolysis and glucose utilization and repressed lipogenesis and gluconeogenesis through enhancing energy consumption and thermogenesis, repressing GPNMB and targeting MAPK11, respectively. We further explored the relationship between miR-143 and a methyl donor (betaine) and the miR-143-mediated responses to the betaine supplement regulating the mechanism of the glucose and lipid metabolism. The results showed that betaine significantly down-regulated the expression of miR-143 that subsequently increased SAM levels in the liver by targeting MAT1a. In brief, the regulations of glucose and lipid metabolism are related to the miR-143-regulation of one-carbon units, and the relationship between betaine and miR-143 in the methionine cycle is a typical yin-yang type of regulation. Thus, betaine and miR-143 function together as key regulators and biomarkers for preventing and diagnosing metabolic diseases such as fatty liver disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Keywords: betaine; gluconeogenesis; lipogenesis; methionine cycle; miR-143.