Published online Feb 15, 2015. doi: 10.4239/wjd.v6.i1.175
Peer-review started: July 19, 2014
First decision: September 4, 2014
Revised: November 17, 2014
Accepted: December 3, 2014
Article in press: December 10, 2014
Published online: February 15, 2015
The Maf family of transcription factors is characterized by a typical bZip structure; these transcription factors act as important regulators of the development and differentiation of many organs and tissues, including the kidney. The Maf family consists of two subgroups that are characterized according to their structure: large Maf transcription factors and small Maf transcription factors. The large Maf subgroup consists of four proteins, designated as MAFA, MAFB, c-MAF and neural retina-specific leucine zipper. In particular, MAFA is a distinct molecule that has been attracting the attention of researchers because it acts as a strong transactivator of insulin, suggesting that Maf transcription factors are likely to be involved in systemic energy homeostasis. In this review, we focused on the regulation of glucose/energy balance by Maf transcription factors in various organs.
Core tip: This manuscript demonstrates that Maf transcription factors are likely to be involved in the regulation of hormonal systems related to glucose metabolism, with regulation by Maf transcription factors likely occurring near the start of the cascade or acting directly on the expression of genes in coordination with other factors in multiple organs and tissues. The Maf family plays diverse roles as transcription factors in the establishment of energy balance in peripheral organs, such as the pancreas, liver, and adipose tissue.