Hepatocyte nuclear factor 4α regulates megalin expression in proximal tubular cells

Shota Sasaki, Ayami Hara, Masakiyo Sakaguchi, Masaomi Nangaku, Yusuke Inoue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Hepatocyte nuclear factor 4α (HNF4α) is a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily and upregulates expression of many genes in the liver, pancreas, small intestine, and colon. HNF4α is also highly expressed in proximal tubular epithelial cells (PTECs) in kidney. PTECs reabsorb various substances through transporters, ion channels, and receptors, but the target genes for HNF4α in PTECs have not been investigated in detail. In the present study, we aimed to identify novel HNF4α target genes that are highly expressed in PTECs. Expression of many solute carrier transporter genes was upregulated by HNF4α in human PTEC-derived HK-2 cells. Notably, expression of megalin (LRP2), an endocytic receptor of various molecules involved in development and progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD), was strongly induced by HNF4α and the transactivation potential of the megalin promoter was dependent on HNF4α expression. Moreover, HNF4α was found to directly bind to an HNF4α binding site near the transcription start site in the megalin gene. These results indicate that HNF4α plays an important role in maintaining reabsorption and metabolism in PTECs by positive regulation of several solute carrier transporter and megalin genes at the transcriptional level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-92
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemistry and Biophysics Reports
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Hepatocyte nuclear factor 4α
  • Kidney
  • Megalin
  • Proximal tubule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry


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