Induction of hepatic metabolic functions by a novel variant of hepatocyte nuclear factor 4γ

Shota Sasaki, Mizuho Urabe, Tsukasa Maeda, Junko Suzuki, Ryota Irie, Masanori Suzuki, Yasuhiro Tomaru, Masakiyo Sakaguchi, Frank J. Gonzalez, Yusuke Inoue

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Hepatocyte nuclear factor 4γ(HNF4γ) is a critical factor for hepatocyte differentiation. HNF4γ expression is decreased in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), which suggests a role in repression of hepatocyte dedifferentiation. In the present study, hepatic expression of HNF4γ was increased in liver-specific Hnf4a-null mice. The HNF4γ whose expression was increased contained two variants, a known short variant, designated HNF4γ1, and a novel long variant, designated HNF4γ2. HNF4G2 mRNA was highly expressed in small intestine, and the transactivation potential of HNF4γ2 was the strongest among these variants, but the potential of HNF4γ1 was the lowest. Cotransfection experiments revealed that HNF4γ1 repressed HNF4γ-and HNF4γ2-dependent transactivation, while HNF4γ2 promoted HNF4γ-dependent transactivation. HNF4γ1 and HNF4γ2 were able to bind to the HNF4γ binding sites with an affinity similar to that of HNF4γ. Furthermore, HNF4γ2, but not HNF4γ1, robustly induced the expression of typical HNF4γ target genes to a greater degree than HNF4γ. Additionally, HNF4γ2 suppressed proliferation of hepatoma cells as well as HNF4γ and HNF4γ1 did, and HNF4γ2 induced critical hepatic functions, such as glucose and urea production, and cytochrome P450 1A2 activity more strongly than HNF4γ and HNF4γ1 did. These results indicate that HNF4γ2 has potential for redifferentiation of HCC and thus may be explored as a target for HCC therapy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018


  • HNF4γ
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Redifferentiation
  • Transactivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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