Sara Fukushima*, Hiroki Nishi*, Mikako Kumano, Daisuke Yamanaka, Naoyuki Kataoka, Fumihiko Hakuno*, Shin-Ichiro Takahashi


Emerging evidence has shown that amino acids act as metabolic regulatory signals. Here, we showed that glucose-6-phosphatase (G6Pase) mRNA levels in cultured hepatocyte models were downregulated in an amino-acid-depleted medium. Inversely, stimulation with amino acids increased G6Pase mRNA levels, demonstrating that G6Pase mRNA level is directly controlled by amino acids in a reversible manner. Promoter assay revealed that these amino-acid-mediated changes in G6Pase mRNA levels were attributable to transcriptional regulation, independent of canonical hormone signaling pathways. Metabolomic analysis revealed that amino acid starvation induces a defect in the urea cycle, decreasing ornithine, a major intermediate, and supplementation of ornithine in an amino-acid-depleted medium fully rescued G6Pase mRNA transcription, similar to the effects of amino acid stimulation. This pathway was also independent of established mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 pathway. Collectively, we present a hypothetical concept of "metabolic regulatory amino acid signal," possibly mediated by ornithine.

Paper Information

: iScience(Volume 24, Issue 7, 23 July 2021, 102778)