NR6A1 regulates lipid metabolism through mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 in HepG2 cells

Yinfang Wang, Xiaohong Wan, Yilong Hao, Yuanyuan Zhao, Lanlan Du, Yitong Huang, Zongjun Liu, Ying Wang, Nanping Wang, Peng Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Lipogenesis is required for the optimal growth of many types of cancer cells, it is shown to control the biosynthesis of the lipid bilayer membrane during rapid proliferation and metastasis, provides cancer cells with signaling lipid molecules to support cancer development and make cancer cells more resistant to oxidative stress-induced cell death. Though multiple lipogenic enzymes have been identified to mediate this metabolic change, how the expression of these lipogenic enzymes are transcriptionally regulated remains unclear. Methods: Gain- A nd loss-of-function experiments were conducted to assess the role of transcriptional repressor, nuclear receptor sub-family 6, group A, member 1 (NR6A1) in HepG2 cells. RT-qPCR method was performed to investigate target gene of NR6A1. Western blot was employed to determine the mechanisms by which NR6A1 regulates lipid accumulation in HepG2 cells. Results: We provide evidence that NR6A1 is a novel regulator of lipid metabolism in HepG2 cells. NR6A1 knockdown can increase lipid accumulation as well as insulin-induced proliferation and migration of HepG2 cells. The lipogenic effect correlated well with the expression of lipogenic genes, including fatty acid synthase (FAS), diglyceride acyltransferase-2 (DGAT2), malic enzyme 1 (ME1), microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTTP) and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK). NR6A1 knockdown also increased the expression of carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1A (CPT1a), the rate-limiting enzyme in fatty acid oxidation. Furthermore, NR6A1 knockdown induced lipid accumulation through mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), but not mTORC2. Moreover, siRNA-mediated knockdown of NR6A1 increased expression of insulin receptor (INSR) and potentitated insulin-induced phosphorylation of mTOR and AKT partly via miR-205-5p in HepG2 cells. Conclusions: These findings provide important new insights into the role of NR6A1 in the lipogenesis in HepG2 cells. Graphical abstract:.[Figure not available: See fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number77
JournalCell Communication and Signaling
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 17 2019


  • HepG2 cells
  • Insulin receptor
  • Lipogenesis
  • NR6A1
  • miR-205-5p

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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