Nutritional and Hormonal Regulation of Enzymes in Fat Synthesis: Studies of Fatty Acid Synthase and Mitochondrial glycerol-3-phosphate Acyltransferase Gene Transcription

Annu Rev Nutr. 1998;18:331-51. doi: 10.1146/annurev.nutr.18.1.331.


The activities of critical enzymes in fatty acid and triacylglycerol biosynthesis are tightly controlled by different nutritional, hormonal, and developmental conditions. Feeding previously fasted animals high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets causes a dramatic induction of enzymes-such as fatty acid synthase (FAS) and mitochondrial glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (GPAT)-involved in fatty acid and triacylglycerol synthesis. During fasting and refeeding, transcription of these two enzymes is coordinately regulated by nutrients and hormones, such as glucose, insulin, glucagon, glucocorticoids, and thyroid hormone. Insulin stimulates transcription of the FAS and mitochondrial GPAT genes, and glucagon antagonizes the insulin effect through the cis-acting elements within the promoters and their bound trans-acting factors. This review discusses advances made in the understanding of the transcriptional regulation of FAS and mitochondrial GPAT genes, with emphasis on elucidation of the mechanisms by which multiple nutrients and hormones achieve their effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fatty Acid Synthases / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Glycerol-3-Phosphate O-Acyltransferase / genetics*
  • Hormones*
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / enzymology
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • Hormones
  • Glycerol-3-Phosphate O-Acyltransferase
  • Fatty Acid Synthases