We have previously demonstrated that insulin-stimulated glucose metabolism, and not insulin per se, mediates the effects of insulin to increase the transcriptional activity of the leptin promoter in adipocytes. Here, we sought to identify the specific cis-acting DNA elements required for the upregulation of leptin gene transcription in response to insulin-mediated glucose metabolism. To accomplish this, 3T3-L1 cells and primary rat adipocytes were transfected with a series of luciferase reporter genes containing portions of the mouse leptin promoter. Using this method, we identified an element between -135 and -95 bp (relative to the transcriptional start site) that mediated transcription in response to insulin-stimulated glucose metabolism in adipocytes. This effect was abolished by incubation with 2-deoxy-D-glucose, a competitive inhibitor of glucose metabolism. Gel shift electrophoretic mobility shift assays confirmed that the stimulatory effect of insulin-mediated glucose metabolism on leptin transcription was mediated by a previously identified Sp1 site. Consistent with these findings, incubation of primary rat adipocytes with WP631, a specific inhibitor of specificity protein (Sp)1-dependent transcription, inhibited glucose- and insulin-stimulated, but not basal, leptin secretion. Together, these findings support a key role for Sp1 in the transcriptional activation of the leptin gene promoter by insulin-mediated glucose metabolism.
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