- Fatty acid regulation of hepatic gene transcription was first reported in the early 1990s. Several transcription factors have been identified as targets of fatty acid regulation. This regulation is achieved by direct fatty acid binding to the transcription factor or by indirect mechanisms where fatty acids regulate signaling pathways controlling the expression of transcription factors or the phosphorylation, ubiquitination, or proteolytic cleavage of the transcription factor. Although dietary fatty acids are well-established regulators of hepatic transcription factors, emerging evidence indicates that endogenously generated fatty acids are equally important in controlling transcription factors in the context of glucose and lipid homeostasis. Our first goal in this review is to provide an up-to-date examination of the molecular and metabolic bases of fatty acid regulation of key transcription factors controlling hepatic metabolism. Our second goal is to link these mechanisms to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a growing health concern in the obese population.