Nutrition and Health Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



PLoS ONE 7(4): e33804


Copyright 2012 Crumbley et al.

Open access



The retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor α (RORα) is a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily of transcription factors that plays an important role in regulation of the circadian rhythm and metabolism. Mice lacking a functional RORα display a range of metabolic abnormalities including decreased serum cholesterol and plasma triglycerides. Citrate synthase (CS) is a key enzyme of the citric acid cycle that provides energy for cellular function. Additionally, CS plays a critical role in providing citrate derived acetyl-CoA for lipogenesis and cholesterologenesis. Here, we identified a functional RORα response element (RORE) in the promoter of the CS gene. ChIP analysis demonstrates RORα occupancy of the CS promoter and a putative RORE binds to RORα effectively in an electrophoretic mobility shift assay and confers RORα responsiveness to a reporter gene in a cotransfection assay. We also observed a decrease in CS gene expression and CS enzymatic activity in the staggerer mouse, which has a mutation of in the Rora gene resulting in nonfunctional RORα protein. Furthermore, we found that SR1001 a RORα inverse agonist eliminated the circadian pattern of expression of CS mRNA in mice. These data suggest that CS is a direct RORα target gene and one mechanism by which RORα regulates lipid metabolism is via regulation of CS expression.