The X factor in liver metabolism

December 21, 2012, Journal of Clinical Investigation

After you eat, your liver switches from producing glucose to storing it. At the same time, a cellular signaling pathway known as the unfolded protein response (UPR) is transiently activated, but it is not clear how this pathway contributes to the liver's metabolic switch.

In this issue of the , researchers led by Phillip Scherer at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center report that activation of the UPR triggers the expression of Xbp1s, a protein that regulates genes needed for the metabolic switch. Scherer and colleagues found that they could induce changes in just by increasing expression of Xbps1.

These results suggest that Xbps1 could play a role in metabolic disease.

Explore further: In obesity, a micro-RNA causes metabolic problems

More information: The Xbp1s/GalE axis links ER stress to postprandial hepatic metabolism, Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2012.

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