RORalpha regulates the expression of genes involved in lipid homeostasis in skeletal muscle cells: caveolin-3 and CPT-1 are direct targets of ROR

Patrick Lau, Susan J Nixon, Robert G Parton, George E O Muscat
Journal of Biological Chemistry 2004 August 27, 279 (35): 36828-40
The staggerer mice carry a deletion in the RORalpha gene and have a prolonged humoral response, overproduce inflammatory cytokines, and are immunodeficient. Furthermore, the staggerer mice display lowered plasma apoA-I/-II, decreased plasma high density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides, and develop hypo-alpha-lipoproteinemia and atherosclerosis. However, relatively little is known about RORalpha in the context of target tissues, target genes, and lipid homeostasis. For example, RORalpha is abundantly expressed in skeletal muscle, a major mass peripheral tissue that accounts for approximately 40% of total body weight and 50% of energy expenditure. This lean tissue is a primary site of glucose disposal and fatty acid oxidation. Consequently, muscle has a significant role in insulin sensitivity, obesity, and the blood-lipid profile. In particular, the role of RORalpha in skeletal muscle metabolism has not been investigated, and the contribution of skeletal muscle to the ROR-/- phenotype has not been resolved. We utilize ectopic dominant negative RORalpha expression in skeletal muscle cells to understand the regulatory role of RORs in this major mass peripheral tissue. Exogenous dominant negative RORalpha expression in skeletal muscle cells represses the endogenous levels of RORalpha and -gamma mRNAs and ROR-dependent gene expression. Moreover, we observed attenuated expression of many genes involved in lipid homeostasis. Furthermore, we show that the muscle carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1 and caveolin-3 promoters are directly regulated by ROR and coactivated by p300 and PGC-1. This study implicates RORs in the control of lipid homeostasis in skeletal muscle. In conclusion, we speculate that ROR agonists would increase fatty acid catabolism in muscle and suggest selective activators of ROR may have therapeutic utility in the treatment of obesity and atherosclerosis.

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