Identification of fatty acid methyl ester as naturally occurring transcriptional regulators of the members of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor family

Lipids. 1996 Nov;31(11):1115-24. doi: 10.1007/BF02524285.


The nuclear hormone receptors NUC-1 (PPAR delta) and PPAR alpha are members of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) family. The members of this receptor family are activated by agents that stimulate peroxisome proliferation, free fatty acids, prostaglandin 12 metabolites, and agents considered for the therapy of insulin-independent diabetes mellitus. To identify putative physiological agents that activate NUC-1, we tested the ability of acetone extracts of various rat tissues to activate the transcription of an MMTV-luciferase reporter gene, via a GR/NUC-1 hybrid receptor. GR/NUC-1 contains the ligand binding region of the NUC-1 receptor and the DNA binding domain of the glucocorticoid receptor. Using this assay, we found stimulatory activity in the pancreas, which upon purification and characterization was identified as methyl-palmitate, known to be enriched in pancreatic lipids. In addition, we determined that ethyl esters of palmitic and oleic acids are also potent activators of this receptor. Thus, fatty acid ester formation may control the cellular concentrations of fatty acids, and acyl-ester formation may play a role in the control of metabolic pathways and the activation of the PPAR.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Genes, Reporter
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Luciferases / genetics
  • Palmitates / metabolism
  • Palmitates / pharmacology
  • Pancreas / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / drug effects
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / genetics
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors / drug effects
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects


  • Fatty Acids
  • Palmitates
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Transcription Factors
  • methyl palmitate
  • Luciferases