The relative balance between the quantity of white and brown adipose tissue can profoundly affect lipid storage and whole-body energy homeostasis. However, the mechanisms regulating the formation, expansion, and interconversion of these 2 distinct types of fat remain unknown. Recently, the lysosomal degradative pathway of macroautophagy has been identified as a regulator of cellular differentiation, suggesting that autophagy may modulate this process in adipocytes. The function of autophagy in adipose differentiation was therefore examined in the current study by genetic inhibition of the critical macroautophagy gene autophagy-related 7 (Atg7). Knockdown of Atg7 in 3T3-L1 preadipocytes inhibited lipid accumulation and decreased protein levels of adipocyte differentiation factors. Knockdown of Atg5 or pharmacological inhibition of autophagy or lysosome function also had similar effects. An adipocyte-specific mouse knockout of Atg7 generated lean mice with decreased white adipose mass and enhanced insulin sensitivity. White adipose tissue in knockout mice had increased features of brown adipocytes, which, along with an increase in normal brown adipose tissue, led to an elevated rate of fatty acid, β-oxidation, and a lean body mass. Autophagy therefore functions to regulate body lipid accumulation by controlling adipocyte differentiation and determining the balance between white and brown fat.
Rajat Singh, Youqing Xiang, Yongjun Wang, Kiran Baikati, Ana Maria Cuervo, Yen K. Luu, Yan Tang, Jeffrey E. Pessin, Gary J. Schwartz, Mark J. Czaja
The enhanced oxidative stress associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus contributes to disease pathogenesis. We previously identified plasma membrane–associated ATP-sensitive K+ (KATP) channels of pancreatic β cells as targets for oxidants. Here, we examined the effects of genetic and pharmacologic ablation of KATP channels on loss of mouse β cell function and viability following oxidative stress. Using mice lacking the sulfonylurea receptor type 1 (Sur1) subunit of KATP channels, we found that, compared with insulin secretion by WT islets, insulin secretion by Sur1–/– islets was less susceptible to oxidative stress induced by the oxidant H2O2. This was likely, at least in part, a result of the reduced ability of H2O2 to hyperpolarize plasma membrane potential and reduce cytosolic free Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]c) in the Sur1–/– β cells. Remarkably, Sur1–/– β cells were less prone to apoptosis induced by H2O2 or an NO donor than WT β cells, despite an enhanced basal rate of apoptosis. This protective effect was attributed to upregulation of the antioxidant enzymes SOD, glutathione peroxidase, and catalase. Upregulation of antioxidant enzymes and reduced sensitivity of Sur1–/– cells to H2O2-induced apoptosis were mimicked by treatment with the sulfonylureas tolbutamide and gliclazide. Enzyme upregulation and protection against oxidant-induced apoptosis were abrogated by agents lowering [Ca2+]c. Sur1–/– mice were less susceptible than WT mice to streptozotocin-induced β cell destruction and subsequent hyperglycemia and death, which suggests that loss of KATP channel activity may protect against streptozotocin-induced diabetes in vivo.
Belinda Gier, Peter Krippeit-Drews, Tatiana Sheiko, Lydia Aguilar-Bryan, Joseph Bryan, Martina Düfer, Gisela Drews
Insulin signaling can be modulated by several isoforms of PKC in peripheral tissues. Here, we assessed whether one specific isoform, PKC-θ, was expressed in critical CNS regions that regulate energy balance and whether it mediated the deleterious effects of diets high in fat, specifically palmitic acid, on hypothalamic insulin activity in rats and mice. Using a combination of in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry, we found that PKC-θ was expressed in discrete neuronal populations of the arcuate nucleus, specifically the neuropeptide Y/agouti-related protein neurons and the dorsal medial nucleus in the hypothalamus. CNS exposure to palmitic acid via direct infusion or by oral gavage increased the localization of PKC-θ to cell membranes in the hypothalamus, which was associated with impaired hypothalamic insulin and leptin signaling. This finding was specific for palmitic acid, as the monounsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid, neither increased membrane localization of PKC-θ nor induced insulin resistance. Finally, arcuate-specific knockdown of PKC-θ attenuated diet-induced obesity and improved insulin signaling. These results suggest that many of the deleterious effects of high-fat diets, specifically those enriched with palmitic acid, are CNS mediated via PKC-θ activation, resulting in reduced insulin activity.
Stephen C. Benoit, Christopher J. Kemp, Carol F. Elias, William Abplanalp, James P. Herman, Stephanie Migrenne, Anne-Laure Lefevre, Céline Cruciani-Guglielmacci, Christophe Magnan, Fang Yu, Kevin Niswender, Boman G. Irani, William L. Holland, Deborah J. Clegg
The recent demonstration that osteoblasts have a role in controlling energy metabolism suggests that they express cell-specific regulatory genes involved in this process. Activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) is a transcription factor that accumulates predominantly in osteoblasts, where it regulates virtually all functions linked to the maintenance of bone mass. Since Atf4–/– mice have smaller fat pads than littermate controls, we investigated whether ATF4 also influences energy metabolism. Here, we have shown, through analysis of Atf4–/–mice, that ATF4 inhibits insulin secretion and decreases insulin sensitivity in liver, fat, and muscle. Several lines of evidence indicated that this function of ATF4 occurred through its osteoblastic expression. First, insulin sensitivity is enhanced in the liver of Atf4–/– mice, but not in cultured hepatocytes from these mice. Second, mice overexpressing ATF4 in osteoblasts only [termed here α1(I)Collagen-Atf4 mice] displayed a decrease in insulin secretion and were insulin insensitive. Third, the α1(I)Collagen-Atf4 transgene corrected the energy metabolism phenotype of Atf4–/– mice. Fourth, and more definitely, mice lacking ATF4 only in osteoblasts presented the same metabolic abnormalities as Atf4–/– mice. Molecularly, ATF4 favored expression in osteoblasts of Esp, which encodes a product that decreases the bioactivity of osteocalcin, an osteoblast-specific secreted molecule that enhances secretion of and sensitivity to insulin. These results provide a transcriptional basis to the observation that osteoblasts fulfill endocrine functions and identify ATF4 as a regulator of most functions of osteoblasts.
Tatsuya Yoshizawa, Eiichi Hinoi, Dae Young Jung, Daisuke Kajimura, Mathieu Ferron, Jin Seo, Jonathan M. Graff, Jason K. Kim, Gerard Karsenty
The anorexigenic neuromodulator α-melanocyte–stimulating hormone (α-MSH; referred to here as α-MSH1–13) undergoes extensive posttranslational processing, and its in vivo activity is short lived due to rapid inactivation. The enzymatic control of α-MSH1–13 maturation and inactivation is incompletely understood. Here we have provided insight into α-MSH1–13 inactivation through the generation and analysis of a subcongenic mouse strain with reduced body fat compared with controls. Using positional cloning, we identified a maximum of 6 coding genes, including that encoding prolylcarboxypeptidase (PRCP), in the donor region. Real-time PCR revealed a marked genotype effect on Prcp mRNA expression in brain tissue. Biochemical studies using recombinant PRCP demonstrated that PRCP removes the C-terminal amino acid of α-MSH1–13, producing α-MSH1–12, which is not neuroactive. We found that Prcp was expressed in the hypothalamus in neuronal populations that send efferents to areas where α-MSH1–13 is released from axon terminals. The inhibition of PRCP activity by small molecule protease inhibitors administered peripherally or centrally decreased food intake in both wild-type and obese mice. Furthermore, Prcp-null mice had elevated levels of α-MSH1–13 in the hypothalamus and were leaner and shorter than the wild-type controls on a regular chow diet; they were also resistant to high-fat diet–induced obesity. Our results suggest that PRCP is an important component of melanocortin signaling and weight maintenance via control of active α-MSH1–13 levels.
Nicholas Wallingford, Bertrand Perroud, Qian Gao, Anna Coppola, Erika Gyengesi, Zhong-Wu Liu, Xiao-Bing Gao, Adam Diament, Kari A. Haus, Zia Shariat-Madar, Fakhri Mahdi, Sharon L. Wardlaw, Alvin H. Schmaier, Craig H. Warden, Sabrina Diano
The hepatic energy state, defined by adenine nucleotide levels, couples metabolic pathways with energy requirements. This coupling is fundamental in the adaptive response to many conditions and is impaired in metabolic disease. We have found that the hepatic energy state is substantially reduced following exercise, fasting, and exposure to other metabolic stressors in C57BL/6 mice. Glucagon receptor signaling was hypothesized to mediate this reduction because increased plasma levels of glucagon are characteristic of metabolic stress and because this hormone stimulates energy consumption linked to increased gluconeogenic flux through cytosolic phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK-C) and associated pathways. We developed what we believe to be a novel hyperglucagonemic-euglycemic clamp to isolate an increment in glucagon levels while maintaining fasting glucose and insulin. Metabolic stress and a physiological rise in glucagon lowered the hepatic energy state and amplified AMP-activated protein kinase signaling in control mice, but these changes were abolished in glucagon receptor–null mice and mice with liver-specific PEPCK-C deletion. 129X1/Sv mice, which do not mount a glucagon response to hypoglycemia, displayed an increased hepatic energy state compared with C57BL/6 mice in which glucagon was elevated. Taken together, these data demonstrate in vivo that the hepatic energy state is sensitive to glucagon receptor activation and requires PEPCK-C, thus providing new insights into liver metabolism.
Eric D. Berglund, Robert S. Lee-Young, Daniel G. Lustig, Sara E. Lynes, E. Patrick Donahue, Raul C. Camacho, M. Elizabeth Meredith, Mark A. Magnuson, Maureen J. Charron, David H. Wasserman
Heterozygous mutations in the gene encoding the pancreatic homeodomain transcription factor pancreatic duodenal homeobox 1 (PDX1) are associated with maturity onset diabetes of the young, type 4 (MODY4) and type 2 diabetes. Pdx1 governs the early embryonic development of the pancreas and the later differentiation of the insulin-producing islet β cells of the endocrine compartment. We derived a Pdx1 hypomorphic allele that reveals a role for Pdx1 in the specification of endocrine progenitors. Mice homozygous for this allele displayed a selective reduction in endocrine lineages associated with decreased numbers of endocrine progenitors and a marked reduction in levels of mRNA encoding the proendocrine transcription factor neurogenin 3 (Ngn3). During development, Pdx1 occupies an evolutionarily conserved enhancer region of Ngn3 and interacts with the transcription factor one cut homeobox 1 (Hnf6) to activate this enhancer. Furthermore, mRNA levels of all 4 members of the transcription factor network that regulates Ngn3 expression, SRY-box containing gene 9 (Sox9), Hnf6, Hnf1b, and forkhead box A2 (Foxa2), were decreased in homozygous mice. Pdx1 also occupied regulatory sequences in Foxa2 and Hnf1b. Thus, Pdx1 contributes to specification of endocrine progenitors both by regulating expression of Ngn3 directly and by participating in a cross-regulatory transcription factor network during early pancreas development. These results provide insights that may be applicable to β cell replacement strategies involving the guided differentiation of ES cells or other progenitor cell types into the β cell lineage, and they suggest a molecular mechanism whereby human PDX1 mutations cause diabetes.
Jennifer M. Oliver-Krasinski, Margaret T. Kasner, Juxiang Yang, Michael F. Crutchlow, Anil K. Rustgi, Klaus H. Kaestner, Doris A. Stoffers
The epidemics of obesity and metabolic disorders have well-recognized health and economic burdens. Pharmacologic treatments for these diseases remain unsatisfactory with respect to both efficacy and side-effect profiles. Here, we have identified a potential central role for T-type calcium channels in regulating body weight maintenance and sleep. Previously, it was shown that mice lacking CaV3.1 T-type calcium channels have altered sleep/wake activity. We found that these mice were also resistant to high-fat diet–induced weight gain, without changes in food intake or sensitivity to high-fat diet–induced disruptions of diurnal rhythm. Administration of a potent and selective antagonist of T-type calcium channels, TTA-A2, to normal-weight animals prior to the inactive phase acutely increased sleep, decreased body core temperature, and prevented high-fat diet–induced weight gain. Administration of TTA-A2 to obese rodents reduced body weight and fat mass while concurrently increasing lean muscle mass. These effects likely result from better alignment of diurnal feeding patterns with daily changes in circadian physiology and potentially an increased metabolic rate during the active phase. Together, these studies reveal what we believe to be a previously unknown role for T-type calcium channels in the regulation of sleep and weight maintenance and suggest the potential for a novel therapeutic approach to treating obesity.
Victor N. Uebele, Anthony L. Gotter, Cindy E. Nuss, Richard L. Kraus, Scott M. Doran, Susan L. Garson, Duane R. Reiss, Yuxing Li, James C. Barrow, Thomas S. Reger, Zhi-Qiang Yang, Jeanine E. Ballard, Cuyue Tang, Joseph M. Metzger, Sheng-Ping Wang, Kenneth S. Koblan, John J. Renger
The branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) are essential amino acids required for protein homeostasis, energy balance, and nutrient signaling. In individuals with deficiencies in BCAA, these amino acids can be preserved through inhibition of the branched-chain-α-ketoacid dehydrogenase (BCKD) complex, the rate-limiting step in their metabolism. BCKD is inhibited by phosphorylation of its E1α subunit at Ser293, which is catalyzed by BCKD kinase. During BCAA excess, phosphorylated Ser293 (pSer293) becomes dephosphorylated through the concerted inhibition of BCKD kinase and the activity of an unknown intramitochondrial phosphatase. Using unbiased, proteomic approaches, we have found that a mitochondrial-targeted phosphatase, PP2Cm, specifically binds the BCKD complex and induces dephosphorylation of Ser293 in the presence of BCKD substrates. Loss of PP2Cm completely abolished substrate-induced E1α dephosphorylation both in vitro and in vivo. PP2Cm-deficient mice exhibited BCAA catabolic defects and a metabolic phenotype similar to the intermittent or intermediate types of human maple syrup urine disease (MSUD), a hereditary disorder caused by defects in BCKD activity. These results indicate that PP2Cm is the endogenous BCKD phosphatase required for nutrient-mediated regulation of BCKD activity and suggest that defects in PP2Cm may be responsible for a subset of human MSUD.
Gang Lu, Haipeng Sun, Pengxiang She, Ji-Youn Youn, Sarah Warburton, Peipei Ping, Thomas M. Vondriska, Hua Cai, Christopher J. Lynch, Yibin Wang
Hepatic steatosis is present in insulin-resistant obese rodents and is concomitant with active lipogenesis. Hepatic lipogenesis depends on the insulin-induced activation of the transcription factor SREBP-1c. Despite prevailing insulin resistance, SREBP-1c is activated in the livers of genetically and diet-induced obese rodents. Recent studies have reported the presence of an ER stress response in the livers of obese ob/ob mice. To assess whether ER stress promotes SREBP-1c activation and thus contributes to lipogenesis, we overexpressed the chaperone glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) in the livers of ob/ob mice using an adenoviral vector. GRP78 overexpression reduced ER stress markers and inhibited SREBP-1c cleavage and the expression of SREBP-1c and SREBP-2 target genes. Furthermore, hepatic triglyceride and cholesterol contents were reduced, and insulin sensitivity improved, in GRP78-injected mice. These metabolic improvements were likely mediated by restoration of IRS-2 expression and tyrosine phosphorylation. Interestingly, GRP78 overexpression also inhibited insulin-induced SREBP-1c cleavage in cultured primary hepatocytes. These findings demonstrate that GRP78 inhibits both insulin-dependent and ER stress–dependent SREBP-1c proteolytic cleavage and explain the role of ER stress in hepatic steatosis in obese rodents.
Hélène L. Kammoun, Hervé Chabanon, Isabelle Hainault, Serge Luquet, Christophe Magnan, Tatsuro Koike, Pascal Ferré, Fabienne Foufelle