Hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 (HNF4) is a highly conserved member of the nuclear receptor (NR) superfamily of ligand-dependent transcription factors. It is an essential gene, playing a critical role in early development, as well as in the adult in the liver, kidney, pancreas and intestine. HNF4 has been directly linked to several human diseases including diabetes and hemophilia and indirectly linked to others including atherosclerosis and cancer. HNF4 is one of the most abundant transcription factors in the liver. Whereas many target genes have been identified for HNF4, recent genome-scale analyses indicate that there are many more yet to be identified. Recent results indicate, for example, that there may be differences in the target genes of the different isoforms of HNF4 generated by alternative splicing and promoter usage. Furthermore, HNF4 is known to be a heavily phosphorylated protein and to respond to a variety of intra- and extracellular signals;however, only a few of the phosphosites have been mapped and fully characterized. Finally, in addition to its role in intermediary metabolism, there is a growing body of evidence indicating that HNF4 may also play a role in regulating the cell cycle. In order to address these issues, we propose the following three Specific Aims: 1) Identify new target genes for HNF4 using genome-scale analysis and an in vivo mouse model to examine the functional differences in HNF4 isoforms;2) Investigate the role of tyrosine phosphorylation in HNF4 function;and 3) Investigate the role of HNF4 in regulating the cell cycle. The proposed experiments will continue the investigation of the role of HNF4 in liver-specific gene expression using a broad array of modern techniques. The results will further our understanding of the mechanisms of tissue-specific gene regulation. They will also provide invaluable information regarding a variety of human diseases that are linked to HNF4. Finally, as a potential drug target, a more comprehensive knowledge of the genes targeted by HNF4, as well as the signaling pathways that target HNF4, will be essential to developing appropriate therapies. Project Narrative: Our research is relevant to public health because it attempts to decipher the mechanisms by which genes are turned on in the liver and gut. This is critical not only for understanding the causes of diseases such as diabetes, obesity, atherosclerosis and cancer, but also for designing new therapies to treat those diseases.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Gastrointestinal Cell and Molecular Biology Study Section (GCMB)
Program Officer
Serrano, Jose
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of California Riverside
Anatomy/Cell Biology
Schools of Earth Sciences/Natur
United States
Zip Code
Deol, Poonamjot; Evans, Jane R; Dhahbi, Joseph et al. (2015) Soybean Oil Is More Obesogenic and Diabetogenic than Coconut Oil and Fructose in Mouse: Potential Role for the Liver. PLoS One 10:e0132672
Vuong, Linh M; Chellappa, Karthikeyani; Dhahbi, Joseph M et al. (2015) Differential Effects of Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 4α Isoforms on Tumor Growth and T-Cell Factor 4/AP-1 Interactions in Human Colorectal Cancer Cells. Mol Cell Biol 35:3471-90
Chellappa, Karthikeyani; Jankova, Lucy; Schnabl, Jake M et al. (2012) Src tyrosine kinase phosphorylation of nuclear receptor HNF4α correlates with isoform-specific loss of HNF4α in human colon cancer. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109:2302-7
Yusuf, Dimas; Butland, Stefanie L; Swanson, Magdalena I et al. (2012) The transcription factor encyclopedia. Genome Biol 13:R24
Chellappa, Karthikeyani; Robertson, Graham R; Sladek, Frances M (2012) HNF4α: a new biomarker in colon cancer? Biomark Med 6:297-300
Bolotin, Eugene; Chellappa, Karthikeyani; Hwang-Verslues, Wendy et al. (2011) Nuclear receptor HNF4α binding sequences are widespread in Alu repeats. BMC Genomics 12:560
Sladek, Frances M (2011) What are nuclear receptor ligands? Mol Cell Endocrinol 334:3-13
Bolotin, Eugene; Liao, Hailing; Ta, Tuong Chi et al. (2010) Integrated approach for the identification of human hepatocyte nuclear factor 4alpha target genes using protein binding microarrays. Hepatology 51:642-53
Hwang-Verslues, Wendy W; Sladek, Frances M (2010) HNF4α--role in drug metabolism and potential drug target? Curr Opin Pharmacol 10:698-705
Xie, Xuefen; Liao, Hailing; Dang, Huaixin et al. (2009) Down-regulation of hepatic HNF4alpha gene expression during hyperinsulinemia via SREBPs. Mol Endocrinol 23:434-43

Showing the most recent 10 out of 20 publications