Copyright ©The Author(s) 2015. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Diabetes. Feb 15, 2015; 6(1): 175-183
Published online Feb 15, 2015. doi: 10.4239/wjd.v6.i1.175
Transcriptional factors, Mafs and their biological roles
Mariko Tsuchiya, Ryoichi Misaka, Kosaku Nitta, Ken Tsuchiya
Mariko Tsuchiya, Ryoichi Misaka, Institute of Geriatrics, Tokyo Women’s Medical University, Tokyo 150-0002, Japan
Kosaku Nitta, Ken Tsuchiya, Department of Medicine IV, Tokyo Women’s Medical University, Tokyo 162-8666, Japan
Author contributions: Tsuchiya M was the principle investigator; Misaka R and Nitta K revised the article; Tsuchiya K was organizing the maf relating project, analyzing data and drafting the article.
Supported by A Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research of Japan (C; 17591443: Tsuchiya M, C; 26461243: Tsuchiya K).
Conflict-of-interest: The authors have no conflict of interest directly relevant to the content of this article.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Ken Tsuchiya, MD, PhD, Clinical Professor, Department of Medicine IV, Tokyo Women’s Medical University, 8-1, Kawada-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8666, Japan.
Telephone: +81-3-33538111 Fax: +81-3-33560293
Received: July 18, 2014
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.

Keywords: Cell, Insulin, MAFA, Microarray, siRNA

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.