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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 406909, 7 pages
Research Article

CCAAT/Enhancer-Binding Protein α Is a Crucial Regulator of Human Fat Mass and Obesity Associated Gene Transcription and Expression

1Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Shanghai Jiao Tong University Affiliated Sixth People’s Hospital, Shanghai Diabetes Institute, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Diabetes Mellitus, Shanghai Clinical Center for Diabetes, Shanghai 200233, China
2Department of Endocrinology, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Shanxi Medical University, Taiyuan, Shanxi 030001, China
3The Center of Metabolic Disease Research, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210029, China

Received 4 March 2014; Accepted 5 April 2014; Published 29 April 2014

Academic Editor: Cheng Hu

Copyright © 2014 Wei Ren et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Several susceptibility loci have been reported associated with obesity and T2DM in GWAS. Fat mass and obesity associated gene (FTO) is the first gene associated with body mass index (BMI) and risk for diabetes in diverse patient populations. FTO is highly expressed in the brain and pancreas, and is involved in regulating dietary intake and energy expenditure. While much is known about the epigenetic mutations contributing to obesity and T2DM, less is certain with the expression regulation of FTO gene. In this study, a highly conserved canonical C/EBPα binding site was located around position −45~−54 bp relative to the human FTO gene transcriptional start site. Site-directed mutagenesis of the putative C/EBPα binding sites decreased FTO promoter activity. Overexpression and RNAi studies also indicated that C/EBPα was required for the expression of FTO. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) experiment was carried out and the result shows direct binding of C/EBPα to the putative binding regions in the FTO promoter. Collectively, our data suggest that C/EBPα may act as a positive regulator binding to FTO promoter and consequently, activates the gene transcription.