XBP1 links the 12-hour clock to NAFLD and regulation of membrane fluidity and lipid homeostasis

Huan Meng, Naomi M. Gonzales, David M. Lonard, Nagireddy Putluri, Bokai Zhu, Clifford C. Dacso, Brian York, Bert W. O’Malley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


A distinct 12-hour clock exists in addition to the 24-hour circadian clock to coordinate metabolic and stress rhythms. Here, we show that liver-specific ablation of X-box binding protein 1 (XBP1) disrupts the hepatic 12-hour clock and promotes spontaneous non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). We show that hepatic XBP1 predominantly regulates the 12-hour rhythmicity of gene transcription in the mouse liver and demonstrate that perturbation of the 12-hour clock, but not the core circadian clock, is associated with the onset and progression of this NAFLD phenotype. Mechanistically, we provide evidence that the spliced form of XBP1 (XBP1s) binds to the hepatic 12-hour cistrome to directly regulate the 12-hour clock, with a periodicity paralleling the harmonic activation of the 12-hour oscillatory transcription of many rate-limiting metabolic genes known to have perturbations in human metabolic disease. Functionally, we show that Xbp1 ablation significantly reduces cellular membrane fluidity and impairs lipid homeostasis via rate-limiting metabolic processes in fatty acid monounsaturated and phospholipid remodeling pathways. These findings reveal that genetic disruption of the hepatic 12-hour clock links to the onset and progression of NAFLD development via transcriptional regulator XBP1, and demonstrate a role for XBP1 and the 12-hour clock in the modulation of phospholipid composition and the maintenance of lipid homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6215
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'XBP1 links the 12-hour clock to NAFLD and regulation of membrane fluidity and lipid homeostasis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this