DJ-1 is a novel oncogene and also causative gene for familial Parkinson's disease park7. DJ-1 has multiple functions that include transcriptional regulation, anti-oxidative reaction and chaperone and mitochondrial regulation. For transcriptional regulation, DJ-1 acts as a coactivator that binds to various transcription factors, resulting in stimulation or repression of the expression of their target genes. In this study, we found the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) gene is a transcriptional target gene for DJ-1. Reduced expression of LDLR mRNA and protein was observed in DJ-1-knockdown cells and DJ-1-knockout mice and this occurred at the transcription level. Reporter gene assays using various deletion and point mutations of the LDLR promoter showed that DJ-1 stimulated promoter activity by binding to the sterol regulatory element (SRE) with sterol regulatory element binding protein (SREBP) and that stimulating activity of DJ-1 toward LDLR promoter activity was enhanced by oxidation of DJ-1. Chromatin immunoprecipitation, gel-mobility shift and co-immunoprecipitation assays showed that DJ-1 made a complex with SREBP on the SRE. Furthermore, it was found that serum LDL cholesterol level was increased in DJ-1-knockout male, but not female, mice and that the increased serum LDL cholesterol level in DJ-1-knockout male mice was cancelled by administration with estrogen, suggesting that estrogen compensates the increased level of serum LDL cholesterol in DJ-1-knockout female mice. This is the first report that DJ-1 participates in metabolism of fatty acid synthesis through transcriptional regulation of the LDLR gene.
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