GR-KLF15 pathway controls hepatic lipogenesis during fasting

FEBS J. 2024 Jan;291(2):259-271. doi: 10.1111/febs.16957. Epub 2023 Sep 21.


During periods of fasting, the body undergoes a metabolic shift from carbohydrate utilization to the use of fats and ketones as an energy source, as well as the inhibition of de novo lipogenesis and the initiation of gluconeogenesis in the liver. The transcription factor sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1 (SREBP-1), which plays a critical role in the regulation of lipogenesis, is suppressed during fasting, resulting in the suppression of hepatic lipogenesis. We previously demonstrated that the interaction of fasting-induced Kruppel-like factor 15 (KLF15) with liver X receptor serves as the essential mechanism for the nutritional regulation of SREBP-1 expression. However, the underlying mechanisms of KLF15 induction during fasting remain unclear. In this study, we show that the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) regulates the hepatic expression of KLF15 and, subsequently, lipogenesis through the KLF15-SREBP-1 pathway during fasting. KLF15 is necessary for the suppression of SREBP-1 by GR, as demonstrated through experiments using KLF15 knockout mice. Additionally, we show that GR is involved in the fasting response, with heightened binding to the KLF15 enhancer. It has been widely known that the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis regulates the secretion of glucocorticoids and plays a significant role in the metabolic response to undernutrition. These findings demonstrate the importance of the HPA-axis-regulated GR-KLF15 pathway in the regulation of lipid metabolism in the liver during fasting.

Keywords: Kruppel-like factor; glucocorticoid receptor; gluconeogenesis; lipogenesis; nutrition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fasting
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Lipogenesis* / genetics
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid* / genetics
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid* / metabolism
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1 / genetics
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1 / metabolism


  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors