Hepatocyte nuclear factor-1 acts as an accessory factor to enhance the inhibitory action of insulin on mouse glucose-6-phosphatase gene transcription.
Glucose-6-phosphatase catalyzes the terminal step in the gluconeogenic and glycogenolytic pathways. Transcription of the gene encoding the glucose-6-phosphatase catalytic subunit (G6Pase) is stimulated by cAMP and glucocorticoids whereas insulin strongly inhibits both this induction and basal G6Pase gene transcription. Previously, we have demonstrated that the maximum repression of basal G6Pase gene transcription by insulin requires two distinct promoter regions, designated A (from -271 to -199) and B (from -198 to -159). Region B contains an insulin response sequence because it can confer an inhibitory effect of insulin on the expression of a heterologous fusion gene. By contrast, region A fails to mediate an insulin response in a heterologous context, and the mutation of region B within an otherwise intact promoter almost completely abolishes the effect of insulin on basal G6Pase gene transcription. Therefore, region A is acting as an accessory element to enhance the effect of insulin, mediated through region B, on G6Pase gene transcription. Such an arrangement is a common feature of cAMP and glucocorticoid-regulated genes but has not been previously described for insulin. A combination of fusion gene and protein-binding analyses revealed that the accessory factor binding region A is hepatocyte nuclear factor-1. Thus, despite the usually antagonistic effects of cAMP/glucocorticoids and insulin, all three agents are able to use the same factor to enhance their action on gene transcription. The potential role of G6Pase overexpression in the pathophysiology of MODY3 and 5, rare forms of diabetes caused by hepatocyte nuclear factor-1 mutations, is discussed.