Because overexpression of the glucose-6-phosphatase catalytic subunit (G-6-Pase) in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes may contribute to the characteristic increased rate of hepatic glucose production, we have investigated whether the insulin response unit (IRU) identified in the mouse G-6-Pase promoter is conserved in the human promoter. A series of human G-6-Pase-chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) fusion genes was transiently transfected into human HepG2 hepatoma cells, and the effect of insulin on basal CAT expression was analyzed. The results suggest that the IRU identified in the mouse promoter is conserved in the human promoter, but that an upstream multimerized insulin response sequence (IRS) motif that is only found in the human promoter appears to be functionally inactive. The G-6-Pase IRU comprises two distinct promoter regions, designated A and B. Region B contains an IRS, whereas region A acts as an accessory element to enhance the effect of insulin, mediated through region B, on basal G-6-Pase gene transcription. We have previously shown that the accessory factor binding region A is hepatocyte nuclear factor-1, and we show here that the forkhead protein FKHR is a candidate for the insulin-responsive transcription factor binding region B.

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