SREBP2 regulates the endothelial response to cytokines via direct transcriptional activation of KLF6

Joseph Wayne M. Fowler, Nabil E. Boutagy, Rong Zhang, Daiki Horikami, Michael B. Whalen, Casey E. Romanoski, William C. Sessa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The transcription factor SREBP2 is the main regulator of cholesterol homeostasis and is central to the mechanism of action of lipid-lowering drugs, such as statins, which are responsible for the largest overall reduction in cardiovascular risk and mortality in humans with atherosclerotic disease. Recently, SREBP2 has been implicated in leukocyte innate and adaptive immune responses by upregulation of cholesterol flux or direct transcriptional activation of pro-inflammatory genes. Here, we investigate the role of SREBP2 in endothelial cells (ECs), since ECs are at the interface of circulating lipids with tissues and crucial to the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease. Loss of SREBF2 inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory chemokines but amplifies type I interferon response genes in response to inflammatory stimulus. Furthermore, SREBP2 regulates chemokine expression not through enhancement of endogenous cholesterol synthesis or lipoprotein uptake but partially through direct transcriptional activation. Chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing of endogenous SREBP2 reveals that SREBP2 bound to the promoter regions of two nonclassical sterol responsive genes involved in immune modulation, BHLHE40 and KLF6. SREBP2 upregulation of KLF6 was responsible for the downstream amplification of chemokine expression, highlighting a novel relationship between cholesterol homeostasis and inflammatory phenotypes in ECs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100411
JournalJournal of Lipid Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2023


  • Endothelium
  • chemokines
  • cholesterol
  • inflammation
  • interferon
  • nuclear receptors/SREBP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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