American Association for the Advancement of Science, Science Advances, 10(8), 2022
Circulating corticosteroids orchestrate stress adaptation, including inhibition of inflammation. While pathways governing corticosteroid biosynthesis and intracellular signaling are well understood, less is known about mechanisms controlling plasma corticosteroid transport. Here, we show that hepatocyte KLF15 (Kruppel-like factor 15) controls plasma corticosteroid transport and inflammatory responses through direct transcriptional activation of Serpina6 , which encodes corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG). Klf15 -deficient mice have profoundly low CBG, reduced plasma corticosteroid binding capacity, and heightened mortality during inflammatory stress. These defects are completely rescued by reconstituting CBG, supporting that KLF15 works primarily through CBG to control plasma corticosterone homeostasis. To understand transcriptional mechanisms, we generated the first KLF15 cistromes using newly engineered Klf15 3xFLAG mice. Unexpectedly, liver KLF15 is predominantly promoter enriched, including Serpina6 , where it binds a palindromic GC-rich motif, opens chromatin, and transactivates genes with minimal associated direct gene repression. Overall, we provide critical mechanistic insight into KLF15 function and identify a hepatocyte-intrinsic transcriptional module that potently regulates systemic corticosteroid transport and inflammation.