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Transducer of regulated CREB-binding proteins (TORCs) induce PGC-1alpha transcription and mitochondrial biogenesis in muscle cells

Zhidan Wu, Xueming Huang, Yajun Feng, Christoph Handschin, Yan Feng, P Scott Gullicksen, Olivia Bare, Mark Labow, Bruce Spiegelman, Susan C Stevenson
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2006 September 26, 103 (39): 14379-84
16980408
PGC-1alpha (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1alpha) is a master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis and plays an important role in several other aspects of energy metabolism. To identify upstream regulators of PGC-1alpha gene transcription, 10,000 human full-length cDNAs were screened for induction of the PGC-1alpha promoter. A number of activators of PGC-1alpha transcription were found; the most potent activator was the transducer of regulated CREB (cAMP response element-binding protein) binding protein (TORC) 1, a coactivator of CREB. The other two members of the TORC family, TORC2 and TORC3, also strongly activated PGC-1alpha transcription. TORCs dramatically induced PGC-1alpha gene transcription through CREB. Forced expression of TORCs in primary muscle cells induced the endogenous mRNA of PGC-1alpha and its downstream target genes in the mitochondrial respiratory chain and TCA cycle. Importantly, these changes in gene expression resulted in increased mitochondrial oxidative capacity measured by cellular respiration and fatty acid oxidation. Finally, we demonstrated that the action of TORCs in promoting mitochondrial gene expression and function requires PGC-1alpha. Previous studies had indicated that TORCs function as a calcium- and cAMP-sensitive coincidence detector and mediate individual and synergistic effects of these two pathways. Our results, together with previous findings, strongly suggest that TORCs play a key role in linking these external signals to the transcriptional program of adaptive mitochondrial biogenesis by activating PGC-1alpha gene transcription.

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