Carcinogenesis. 2017 Apr 1;38(4):474-483. doi: 10.1093/carcin/bgx023.

PPARα regulates tumor cell proliferation and senescence via a novel target gene carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1C.

Chen Y1, Wang Y1, Huang Y1, Zeng H1, Hu B1, Guan L1, Zhang H1, Yu AM2, Johnson CH3, Gonzalez FJ4, Huang M, Bi H1.

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1School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510006, China.2Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, Comprehensive Cancer Center, UC Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA.3Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Yale School of Public Health, Yale University, 60 College Street, New Haven, CT 06520, USA and.4Laboratory of Metabolism, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1C (CPT1C), an enzyme located in the outer mitochondria membrane, has a crucial role in fatty acid transport and oxidation. It is also involved in cell proliferation and is a potential driver for cancer cell senescence. However, its upstream regulatory mechanism is unknown. Peroxisome proliferator activated receptor α (PPARα) is a ligand-activated transcription factor that regulates lipid metabolism and tumor progression. The current study aimed to elucidate whether and how PPARα regulates CPT1C and then affects cancer cell proliferation and senescence. Here, for the first time we report that PPARα directly activated CPT1C transcription and CPT1C was a novel target gene of PPARα, as revealed by dual-luciferase reporter and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays. Moreover, regulation of CPT1C by PPARα was p53-independent. We further confirmed that depletion of PPARα resulted in low CPT1C expression and then inhibited proliferation and induced senescence of MDA-MB-231 and PANC-1 tumor cell lines in a CPT1C-dependent manner, while forced PPARα overexpression promoted cell proliferation and reversed cellular senescence. Taken together, these results indicate that CPT1C is a novel PPARα target gene that regulates cancer cell proliferation and senescence. The PPARα-CPT1C axis may be a new target for the intervention of cancer cellular proliferation and senescence.