Regulation of stearoyl-CoA desaturase by polyunsaturated fatty acids and cholesterol
The lipid composition of cellular membranes is regulated to maintain membrane fluidity. A key enzyme involved in this process is the membrane-bound stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) which is the rate-limiting enzyme in the cellular synthesis of monounsaturated fatty acids from saturated fatty acids. A proper ratio of saturated to monounsaturated fatty acids contributes to membrane fluidity. Alterations in this ratio have been implicated in various disease states including cardiovascular disease, obesity, non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, hypertension, neurological diseases, immune disorders, and cancer. The regulation of stearoyl-CoA desaturase is therefore of considerable physiological importance and its activity is sensitive to dietary changes, hormonal imbalance, developmental processes, temperature changes, metals, alcohol, peroxisomal proliferators, and phenolic compounds. Two mouse and rat SCD genes (SCD1 and SCD2) and a single human SCD gene have been cloned and characterized. In the past several years we have studied the dietary influences on the genetic expression of the mouse stearoyl-CoA desaturase. The expression of the mouse SCD genes is regulated by polyunsaturated fatty acids and cholesterol at the levels of transcription and mRNA stability. Promoter elements that are responsible for the polyunsaturated fatty acid repression colocalize with the promoter elements for SREBP-mediated regulation of the SCD genes. It is the goal of this review to provide an overview of the genetic regulation of the stearoyl-CoA desaturase in response to dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids and cholesterol.—Ntambi, J. M. Regulation of stearoyl-CoA desaturase by polyunsaturated fatty acids and cholesterol. J. Lipid Res. 1999. 40: 1549–1558.