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1.  Hormonal and nutritional regulation of alternative CD36 transcripts in rat liver – a role for growth hormone in alternative exon usage 
CD36 is a multiligand receptor involved in various metabolic pathways, including cellular uptake of long-chain fatty acids. Defect function or expression of CD36 can result in dyslipidemia or insulin resistance. We have previously shown that CD36 expression is female-predominant in rat liver. In the present study, hormonal and nutritional regulation of hepatic CD36 expression was examined in male and female rats. Since alternative transcription start sites have been described in murine and human Cd36, we investigated whether alternative CD36 transcripts are differentially regulated in rat liver during these conditions.
Sequence information of the rat Cd36 5'-UTR was extended, showing that the gene structure of Cd36 in rat is similar to that previously described in mouse with at least two alternative first exons. The rat Cd36 exon 1a promoter was sequenced and found to be highly similar to murine and human Cd36. We show that alternative first exon usage is involved in the female-predominant expression of CD36 in rat liver and during certain hormonal states that induce CD36 mRNA abundance. Estrogen treatment or continuous infusion of growth hormone (GH) in male rats induced CD36 expression preferentially through the exon 1a promoter. Old age was associated with increased CD36 expression in male rats, albeit without any preferential first exon usage. Intermittent GH treatment in old male rats reversed this effect. Mild starvation (12 hours without food) reduced CD36 expression in female liver, whereas its expression was increased in skeletal muscle.
The results obtained in this study confirm and extend our previous observation that GH is an important regulator of hepatic CD36, and depending on the mode of treatment (continuous or intermittent) the gene might be either induced or repressed. We suggest that the effects of continuous GH secretion in females (which is stimulatory) and intermittent GH secretion in males (which is inhibitory) explains the sex-different expression of this gene. Furthermore, a female-specific repression of hepatic CD36 in response to food deprivation was found, which was in contrast to a stimulatory effect in skeletal muscle. This demonstrates a tissue-specific regulation of Cd36.
PMCID: PMC1934915  PMID: 17640331
2.  Alternative promoter usage of the membrane glycoprotein CD36 
CD36 is a membrane glycoprotein involved in a variety of cellular processes such as lipid transport, immune regulation, hemostasis, adhesion, angiogenesis and atherosclerosis. It is expressed in many tissues and cell types, with a tissue specific expression pattern that is a result of a complex regulation for which the molecular mechanisms are not yet fully understood. There are several alternative mRNA isoforms described for the gene. We have investigated the expression patterns of five alternative first exons of the CD36 gene in several human tissues and cell types, to better understand the molecular details behind its regulation.
We have identified one novel alternative first exon of the CD36 gene, and confirmed the expression of four previously known alternative first exons of the gene. The alternative transcripts are all expressed in more than one human tissue and their expression patterns vary highly in skeletal muscle, heart, liver, adipose tissue, placenta, spinal cord, cerebrum and monocytes. All alternative first exons are upregulated in THP-1 macrophages in response to oxidized low density lipoproteins. The alternative promoters lack TATA-boxes and CpG islands. The upstream region of exon 1b contains several features common for house keeping gene and monocyte specific gene promoters.
Tissue-specific expression patterns of the alternative first exons of CD36 suggest that the alternative first exons of the gene are regulated individually and tissue specifically. At the same time, the fact that all first exons are upregulated in THP-1 macrophages in response to oxidized low density lipoproteins may suggest that the alternative first exons are coregulated in this cell type and environmental condition. The molecular mechanisms regulating CD36 thus appear to be unusually complex, which might reflect the multifunctional role of the gene in different tissues and cellular conditions.
PMCID: PMC1475603  PMID: 16515687

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