U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs


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Metabolism Clinical and Experimental 59 (2010) 1372–1378; doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2009.12.025


We previously showed that quercetin expresses its antiatherogenic effects by up-regulating paraoxonase 1 (PON1) gene and high-density lipoprotein's protective capacity against low-density lipoprotein oxidation. In an attempt to elucidate the mechanism of action of quercetin, we have now determined the effects of quercetin on PON1 gene expression, activity, protein level, nuclear mature sterol regulatory element binding protein 2 (SREBP2) level, and its translocation from the endoplasmic reticulum to nucleus and its interaction with PON1 promoter in human HuH7 liver cells using real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, spectrophotometry, immunoblot, confocal microscopy, and electrophoretic mobility shift assay techniques, respectively. Quercetin (20 μmol/L) treatment increased PON1 messenger RNA by 75% (P < .02), with a concomitant 2-fold (P < .05) increase in PON1 activity accompanied by 60% (P < .01) increase in PON1 protein level. There was parallel to the 1.5- to 2.0-fold increase (P < .05) in mature SREBP2 in the cell nuclei that was verified by increased immunolocalization of the mature SREBP2 (65-kd species) in the nuclei of quercetin-treated cells by confocal microscopy. Evaluation of the binding of biotin-labeled sterol responsive element (SRE)–like element of the PON1 promoter to the nuclear extract from the 24-hour quercetin (20 μmol/L)–treated HuH7 cells by electrophoretic mobility shift assay revealed that the SREBP2 specifically binds to the SRElike element that was abolished by prior incubation with anti-SREBP2 or significantly decreased by 200-fold molar excess of unlabeled SRElike sequence. Based on these results, we conclude that quercetin exhibits its antiatherogenic property by eliciting the translocation of the mature SREBP2 from endoplasmic reticulum to the nucleus, where it binds to SRE-like sequence in the PON1 promoter and up-regulates PON1 gene transcription and PON1 activity.