Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Molecular Medicine

Major Professor

Gene C. Ness, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Duane Eichler, Ph.D.

Committee Member

R. Ken Keller, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Richard Heller, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Doug Cress, Ph.D.


In vivo electroporation, HMG-CoA reductase, cholesterol efflux, transcription, ApoA-I


In this study, we examined the effects of thyroid hormone on regulatory processes of cholesterol metabolism. Specifically, the pathways of cholesterol synthesis and cholesterol efflux were investigated. Hepatic HMG-CoA reductase (HMGR) is the rate-limiting enzyme in cholesterol synthesis. Hypothyroid rats exhibit decreased expression of this gene, which can be induced by subsequent treatment with thyroid hormone. The mechanism of this activation was previously unknown. Utilizing in vivo electroporation, we identified HMGR promoter elements necessary for the induction of HMGR by thyroid hormone. The -316/-321 element, the sterol response element, and nuclear factor-y site were all found to be necessary to induce HMGR promoter activity by thyroid hormone. We used electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSA) and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) studies to demonstrate increased binding of upstream transcription factor-2 (USF-2) to the -316/-321 element in the HMGR promoter in response to thyroid hormone. Finally, co-electroporation of the wild-type HMGR plasmid with siRNA to USF-2, SREBP-2, or NF-Y nearly abolished the T3 induction as measured by promoter activity. Microarray and real-time PCR analysis demonstrated an induction of the apolipoproteins ApoA-I and ApoA-IV mRNA by T3. Serum levels of ApoA-I and ApoA-IV proteins were induced by T3. We collected serum from rats treated with or without T3 and used these sera in an in vitro macrophage efflux model. We found that T3 promoted cholesterol efflux via the ABCA1 cholesterol transporter and not via the ABCG1 transporter. We propose that the induction of serum ApoA-I and ApoA-IV by thyroid hormone promotes cholesterol efflux via the ABCA1 cholesterol transporter. Hepatic ABCG5 and ABCG8 are cholesterol transporters that promote biliary secretion of cholesterol. We utilized EMSAs to scan the shared ABCG5/G8 rat promoter for a thyroid hormone response element (TRE). We identified a TRß binding site at -392/-376 of the ABCG8 promoter. Collectively, these observations provide new insight into the cholesterol-lowering function of thyroid hormone.