PNPLA3 is regulated by glucose in human hepatocytes, and its I148M mutant slows down triglyceride hydrolysis.

Research paper by Julia J Perttilä, Carolina C Huaman-Samanez, Sandrine S Caron, Kimmo K Tanhuanpää, Bart B Staels, Hannele H Yki-Järvinen, Vesa M VM Olkkonen

Indexed on: 18 Feb '12Published on: 18 Feb '12Published in: American journal of physiology. Endocrinology and metabolism


Liver fat is increased in carriers of the minor G allele in rs738409 (I148M amino acid substitution) in patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing 3 (PNPLA3)/adiponutrin. We studied transcriptional regulation of PNPLA3 in immortalized human hepatocytes (IHH) and human hepatoma cells (HuH7) and the impact of PNPLA3 I148M mutant on hepatocyte triglyceride metabolism. Studies in IHH showed that silencing of the carbohydrate response element-binding protein (ChREBP) abolished induction of PNPLA3 mRNA by glucose. Glucose-dependent binding of ChREBP to a newly identified carbohydrate response element in the PNPLA3 promoter was demonstrated by chromatin immunoprecipitation. Adenoviral overexpression of mouse ChREBP in IHH failed to induce PNPLA3 mRNA. [(3)H]acetate or [(3)H]oleate incorporation with 1-h pulse labeling or 18-h [(3)H]oleate labeling in HuH7 cells showed no effect of PNPLA3 I148M on triglyceride (TG) synthesis in the absence of free fatty acid (FFA) loading. Increased [(3)H]oleate accumulation into triglycerides in I148M-expressing cells was observed after 18 h of labeling in the presence of 200 μM FFA-albumin complexes. This was accompanied by increased PNPLA3 protein levels. The rate of hydrolysis of [(3)H]TG during lipid depletion was decreased significantly by PNPLA3 I148M. Our results suggest that PNPLA3 is regulated in human hepatocytes by glucose via ChREBP. PNPLA3 I148M enhances cellular accumulation of [(3)H]TG in the presence of excess FFA, which is known to stabilize PNPLA3 protein. These data do not exclude an effect of PNPLA3 I148M on hepatocyte lipogenesis but show that the mutant increases the stability of triglycerides.