The sterol regulatory element binding-proteins (SREBPs) are transcription factors that regulate the genes of lipid metabolism. Cholesterol and unsaturated fatty acids regulate SREBPs. Giardia lamblia (GL) is an intestinal parasite and one of the earliest derived members within the eukaryotic lineage. GLs exist as trophozoites and cysts. Growth in cholesterol depletion induces transcription of cyst-wall protein (CWP) genes that are upregulated during encystation. The hypothesis was investigated that SREBP-like pathways have a role in cwp gene transcription. Chinese hamster ovary cells were transfected with a cwp-2 promoter reporter construct. Incubation with cholesterol or oleate reduced cwp-2 mediated gene transcription to about half of the control. Incubation in sterol-depleted media, or in the presence of either an inhibitor of intracellular cholesterol movement or inhibitor of cholesterol synthesis, increased gene expression up to 3-fold. Overexpression of SREBPs increased reporter gene activity 2.5-fold. In the absence of functional SREBPs, cwp-2 was not regulated by cholesterol. Footprint analysis of cwp-2 reveals three novel binding sites for mammalian SREBPs with no homologies in other species or humans. The data show that SREBP binds to and can modulate transcription of a regulatory element from an ancient eukaryote and suggest the existence of an SREBP homolog in GL.
- Cyst-wall protein
- Sterol regulatory element binding protein
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology