The AMPK/mTOR pathway is involved in D-dopachrome tautomerase gene transcription in adipocytes differentiated from SGBS cells, a human preadipocyte cell line

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HighlightsA transcriptional regulation of the DDT gene in adipocytes is proposed.Activation of AMPK induces transcription of the DDT gene in adipocytes.Inhibition of the mTOR signaling induces transcription of the DDT gene in adipocytes.FOXO1 regulates transcription of the DDT gene in a cell-type specific manner.In adipose tissue, D-dopachrome tautomerase (DDT), a cytokine with structural similarity to macrophage migration inhibitory factor, is mainly expressed in adipocytes rather than preadipocytes and acts as an anti-obesity adipokine in an autocrine manner. However, its transcriptional regulation is largely unknown. In order to explore molecules affecting DDT transcription, a chemical library screening using HEK293 cells stably expressing a DDT promoter-reporter construct was performed. Several derivatives of 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-1-β-d-ribofuranoside (AICAR), an AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activator, were identified as transcriptional activators of the DDT gene. Furthermore, DDT mRNA levels were reduced in SGBS adipocytes treated with compound C, an AMPK inhibitor, suggesting involvement of AMPK in DDT transcription. Overexpression of the FOXO1 constitutive active form reduced transcriptional activity of the DDT gene in SGBS cells, but increased it in HEK293 cells. Cell-type specific effects were also observed in the DDT gene expression of cells treated with AS1842856, a FOXO1 inhibitor. Finally, involvement of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling in DDT transcription in SGBS adipocytes was investigated. Rapamycin, an inhibitor of mTOR, increased DDT mRNA levels and attenuated the inhibitory effects of compound C on DDT mRNA levels in SGBS adipocytes. In conclusion, DDT transcription may be regulated in a cell-dependent manner, and were enhanced by AMPK activation in SGBS adipocytes through inhibiting the mTOR signaling.

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