Glucose activates ChREBP by increasing its rate of nuclear entry and relieving repression of its transcriptional activity

Michael N. Davies, Brennon L. O'Callaghan, Howard C. Towle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Carbohydrate response element-binding protein (ChREBP) is a glucose-responsive transcription factor that activates genes involved in de novo lipogenesis in mammals. The current model for glucose activation of ChREBP proposes that increased glucose metabolism triggers a cytoplasmic to nuclear translocation of ChREBP that is critical for activation. However, we find that ChREBP actively shuttles between the cytoplasm and nucleus in both low and high glucose in the glucose-sensitive β cell-derived line, 832/13. Glucose stimulates a 3-fold increase in the rate of ChREBP nuclear entry, but trapping ChREBP in the nucleus by mutagenesis or with a nuclear export inhibitor does not lead to constitutive activation. In fact, mutational studies targeting the nuclear export signal of ChREBP also identified a distinct function essential for glucose-dependent transcriptional activation. From this, we conclude that an additional event independent of nuclear translocation is required for activation. The N-terminal segment of ChREBP (amino acids 1-298) has previously been shown to repress activity under basal conditions. This segment has five highly conserved regions, Mondo conserved regions 1-5 (MCR1 to -5). Based on activating mutations in MCR2 and MCR5, we propose that these two regions act coordinately to repress ChREBP in low glucose. In addition, other mutations in MCR2 and mutations in MCR3 were found to prevent glucose activation. Hence, we conclude that both relief of repression and adoption of an activating form are required for ChREBP activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24029-24038
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number35
StatePublished - Aug 29 2008


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