Fasting Hormones Synergistically Induce Amino Acid Catabolism Genes to Promote Gluconeogenesis

Noga Korenfeld, Maya Finkel, Nufar Buchshtab, Meirav Bar-Shimon, Meital Charni-Natan, Ido Goldstein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: Gluconeogenesis from amino acids (AAs) maintains glucose homeostasis during fasting. Although glucagon is known to regulate AA catabolism, the contribution of other hormones to it and the scope of transcriptional regulation dictating AA catabolism are unknown. We explored the role of the fasting hormones glucagon and glucocorticoids in transcriptional regulation of AA catabolism genes and AA-dependent gluconeogenesis. Methods: We tested the RNA expression of AA catabolism genes and glucose production in primary mouse hepatocytes treated with fasting hormones (glucagon, corticosterone) and feeding hormones (insulin, fibroblast growth factor 19). We analyzed genomic data of chromatin accessibility and chromatin immunoprecipitation in mice and primary mouse hepatocytes. We performed chromatin immunoprecipitation in livers of fasted mice to show binding of cAMP responsive element binding protein (CREB) and the glucocorticoid receptor (GR). Results: Fasting induced the expression of 31 genes with various roles in AA catabolism. Of them, 15 were synergistically induced by co-treatment of glucagon and corticosterone. Synergistic gene expression relied on the activity of both CREB and GR and was abolished by treatment with either insulin or fibroblast growth factor 19. Enhancers adjacent to synergistically induced genes became more accessible and were bound by CREB and GR on fasting. Akin to the gene expression pattern, gluconeogenesis from AAs was synergistically induced by glucagon and corticosterone in a CREB- and GR-dependent manner. Conclusions: Transcriptional regulation of AA catabolism genes during fasting is widespread and is driven by glucagon (via CREB) and corticosterone (via GR). Glucose production in hepatocytes is also synergistically augmented, showing that glucagon alone is insufficient in fully activating gluconeogenesis.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1021-1036
Number of pages16
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors


  • Chromatin
  • Endocrinology
  • Enhancers
  • Fasting
  • Metabolism
  • Transcription Factors


Dive into the research topics of 'Fasting Hormones Synergistically Induce Amino Acid Catabolism Genes to Promote Gluconeogenesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this