ATF6 modulates SREBP2-mediated lipogenesis



Activating transcription factor 6 (ATF6) and sterol regulatory element-binding proteins (SREBPs) are activated by proteolytic cleavage. The ensuing nuclear translocation of their N-termini (i.e., ATF6(N) and SREBP(N)) activates the respective target genes involved in unfolded protein response and lipogenesis. Here, we report that glucose deprivation activated ATF6 but suppressed the SREBP2-regulated transcription. Overexpression of ATF6(N) had similar inhibitory effects on SREBP2-targeted genes. The blockade of ATF6 cleavage by BiP/grp78 reversed this inhibitory effect. GST pull-down and immunoprecipitation assays revealed that ATF6(N) bound to SREBP2(N). Deletion analysis of the various functional domains of ATF6 indicated that the interaction was through its leucine-zipper domain. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays revealed that ATF6(N) formed a complex with the SRE-bound SREBP2(N). The attenuated transcriptional activity of SREBP2 was due, in part, to the recruitment of HDAC1 to the ATF6–SREBP2 complex. As a functional consequence, the lipogenic effect of SREBP2(N) in liver cells was suppressed by ATF6(N). Our results provide a novel mechanism by which ATF6 antagonizes SREBP2 to regulate the homeostasis of lipid and glucose.