Transcriptional feedback control of insulin receptor by dFOXO/FOXO1.

Research paper by Oscar O Puig, Robert R Tjian

Indexed on: 19 Oct '05Published on: 19 Oct '05Published in: Genes & development


The insulin signaling pathway, which is conserved in evolution from flies to humans, evolved to allow a fast response to changes in nutrient availability while keeping glucose concentration constant in serum. Here we show that, both in Drosophila and mammals, insulin receptor (InR) represses its own synthesis by a feedback mechanism directed by the transcription factor dFOXO/FOXO1. In Drosophila, dFOXO is responsible for activating transcription of dInR, and nutritional conditions can modulate this effect. Starvation up-regulates mRNA of dInR in wild-type but not dFOXO-deficient flies. Importantly, FOXO1 acts in mammalian cells like its Drosophila counterpart, up-regulating the InR mRNA level upon fasting. Mammalian cells up-regulate the InR mRNA in the absence of serum, conditions that induce the dephosphorylation and activation of FOXO1. Interestingly, insulin is able to reverse this effect. Therefore, dFOXO/FOXO1 acts as an insulin sensor to activate insulin signaling, allowing a fast response to the hormone after each meal. Our results reveal a key feedback control mechanism for dFOXO/FOXO1 in regulating metabolism and insulin signaling.