Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The C/EBPalpha transcription factor regulates hepatic nitrogen, glucose, lipid and iron metabolism. However, how it is able to independently control these processes is not known. Here, we use mouse knock-in mutagenesis to identify C/EBPalpha domains that specifically regulate hepatic gluconeogenesis and lipogenesis. In vivo deletion of a proline-histidine rich domain (PHR), dephosphorylated at S193 by insulin signaling, dysregulated genes involved in the generation of acetyl-CoA and NADPH for triglyceride synthesis and led to increased hepatic lipogenesis. These promoters bound SREBP-1 as well as C/EBPalpha, and the PHR was required for C/EBPalpha-SREBP transcriptional synergy. In contrast, the highly conserved C/EBPalpha CR4 domain was found to undergo liver-specific dephosphorylation of residues T222 and T226 upon fasting, and alanine mutation of these residues upregulated the hepatic expression of the gluconeogenic G6Pase and PEPCK mRNAs, but not PGC-1alpha, leading to glucose intolerance. Our results show that pathway-specific metabolic regulation can be achieved through a single transcription factor containing context-sensitive regulatory domains, and indicate C/EBPalpha phosphorylation as a PGC-1alpha-independent mechanism for regulating hepatic gluconeogenesis.

Original publication




Journal article


Embo j

Publication Date





1081 - 1093


Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Blotting, Western, CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-alpha, Chromatin Immunoprecipitation, DNA Primers, Gene Expression Regulation, Gluconeogenesis, Hepatocytes, Lipogenesis, Mice, Molecular Sequence Data, Mutagenesis, Phosphorylation, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Protein Structure, Tertiary, Sequence Alignment, Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1