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1.  G0/G1 Switch Gene 2 controls adipose triglyceride lipase activity and lipid metabolism in skeletal muscle 
Molecular Metabolism  2016;5(7):527-537.
Recent data suggest that adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) plays a key role in providing energy substrate from triglyceride pools and that alterations of its expression/activity relate to metabolic disturbances in skeletal muscle. Yet little is known about its regulation. We here investigated the role of the protein G0/G1 Switch Gene 2 (G0S2), recently described as an inhibitor of ATGL in white adipose tissue, in the regulation of lipolysis and oxidative metabolism in skeletal muscle.
We first examined G0S2 protein expression in relation to metabolic status and muscle characteristics in humans. We next overexpressed and knocked down G0S2 in human primary myotubes to assess its impact on ATGL activity, lipid turnover and oxidative metabolism, and further knocked down G0S2 in vivo in mouse skeletal muscle.
G0S2 protein is increased in skeletal muscle of endurance-trained individuals and correlates with markers of oxidative capacity and lipid content. Recombinant G0S2 protein inhibits ATGL activity by about 40% in lysates of mouse and human skeletal muscle. G0S2 overexpression augments (+49%, p < 0.05) while G0S2 knockdown strongly reduces (−68%, p < 0.001) triglyceride content in human primary myotubes and mouse skeletal muscle. We further show that G0S2 controls lipolysis and fatty acid oxidation in a strictly ATGL-dependent manner. These metabolic adaptations mediated by G0S2 are paralleled by concomitant changes in glucose metabolism through the modulation of Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Kinase 4 (PDK4) expression (5.4 fold, p < 0.001). Importantly, downregulation of G0S2 in vivo in mouse skeletal muscle recapitulates changes in lipid metabolism observed in vitro.
Collectively, these data indicate that G0S2 plays a key role in the regulation of skeletal muscle ATGL activity, lipid content and oxidative metabolism.
•G0S2 correlates with lipid content and oxidative capacity in skeletal muscle.•ATGL activity is tightly controlled by basal expression of G0S2 in skeletal muscle.•G0S2 controls lipid metabolism in a strictly ATGL-dependent manner in muscle.•G0S2 regulates fuel selection through the transcriptional control of PDK4.
PMCID: PMC4921782  PMID: 27408777
Lipid metabolism; Skeletal muscle; Lipolysis; Adipose triglyceride lipase; Oxidative metabolism
2.  Altered Skeletal Muscle Lipase Expression and Activity Contribute to Insulin Resistance in Humans 
Diabetes  2011;60(6):1734-1742.
Insulin resistance is associated with elevated content of skeletal muscle lipids, including triacylglycerols (TAGs) and diacylglycerols (DAGs). DAGs are by-products of lipolysis consecutive to TAG hydrolysis by adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) and are subsequently hydrolyzed by hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL). We hypothesized that an imbalance of ATGL relative to HSL (expression or activity) may contribute to DAG accumulation and insulin resistance.
We first measured lipase expression in vastus lateralis biopsies of young lean (n = 9), young obese (n = 9), and obese-matched type 2 diabetic (n = 8) subjects. We next investigated in vitro in human primary myotubes the impact of altered lipase expression/activity on lipid content and insulin signaling.
Muscle ATGL protein was negatively associated with whole-body insulin sensitivity in our population (r = −0.55, P = 0.005), whereas muscle HSL protein was reduced in obese subjects. We next showed that adenovirus-mediated ATGL overexpression in human primary myotubes induced DAG and ceramide accumulation. ATGL overexpression reduced insulin-stimulated glycogen synthesis (−30%, P < 0.05) and disrupted insulin signaling at Ser1101 of the insulin receptor substrate-1 and downstream Akt activation at Ser473. These defects were fully rescued by nonselective protein kinase C inhibition or concomitant HSL overexpression to restore a proper lipolytic balance. We show that selective HSL inhibition induces DAG accumulation and insulin resistance.
Altogether, the data indicate that altered ATGL and HSL expression in skeletal muscle could promote DAG accumulation and disrupt insulin signaling and action. Targeting skeletal muscle lipases may constitute an interesting strategy to improve insulin sensitivity in obesity and type 2 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3114384  PMID: 21498783
3.  Pigment Epithelium–Derived Factor Regulates Lipid Metabolism via Adipose Triglyceride Lipase 
Diabetes  2011;60(5):1458-1466.
Pigment epithelium–derived factor (PEDF) is an adipocyte-secreted factor involved in the development of insulin resistance in obesity. Previous studies have identified PEDF as a regulator of triacylglycerol metabolism in the liver that may act through adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL). We used ATGL−/− mice to determine the role of PEDF in regulating lipid and glucose metabolism.
Recombinant PEDF was administered to ATGL−/− and wild-type mice, and whole-body energy metabolism was studied by indirect calorimetry. Adipose tissue lipolysis and skeletal muscle fatty acid metabolism was determined in isolated tissue preparations. Muscle lipids were assessed by electrospray ionization–tandem mass spectrometry. Whole-body insulin sensitivity and skeletal muscle glucose uptake were assessed.
PEDF impaired the capacity to adjust substrate selection, resulting in a delayed diurnal decline in the respiratory exchange ratio, and suppressed daily fatty acid oxidation. PEDF enhanced adipocyte lipolysis and triacylglycerol lipase activity in skeletal muscle. Muscle fatty acid uptake and storage were unaffected, whereas fatty acid oxidation was impaired. These changes in lipid metabolism were abrogated in ATGL−/− mice and were not attributable to hypothalamic actions. ATGL−/− mice were also refractory to PEDF-mediated insulin resistance, but this was not related to changes in lipid species in skeletal muscle.
The results are the first direct demonstration that 1) PEDF influences systemic fatty acid metabolism by promoting lipolysis in an ATGL-dependent manner and reducing fatty acid oxidation and 2) ATGL is required for the negative effects of PEDF on insulin action.
PMCID: PMC3292318  PMID: 21464445
4.  Adipose triglyceride lipase expression in human adipose tissue and muscle. Role in insulin resistance and response to training and pioglitazone 
Adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) catalyzes the first step in adipocyte and muscle triglyceride hydrolysis, and Comparative Gene Identification-58 (CGI-58) is an essential cofactor. We studied the expression of ATGL and CGI-58 in human adipose and muscle, and examined correlations with markers of muscle fatty acid oxidation.
Non diabetic volunteers were studied. Subjects with impaired glucose tolerance were treated with pioglitazone or metformin for 10 weeks. Normal glucose tolerant subjects underwent a 12 week training program. We examined changes in ATGL and CGI-58 with obesity and insulin resistance, and effects of exercise and pioglitazone.
ATGL mRNA expression showed no correlation with either body mass index (BMI) or insulin sensitivity (SI) in either adipose or muscle. However, adipose ATGL protein levels were inversely correlated with BMI (r=−0.64, p<0.02), and positively correlated with SI (r=0.67, p<0.02). In muscle, ATGL mRNA demonstrated a strong positive relationship with carnitine palmitoyltransferase I mRNA (r=0.82, p<0.0001), and the adiponectin receptors AdipoR1 mRNA (r=0.71, p<0.0001), and AdipoR2 mRNA (r=0.74, p<0.0001). Muscle CGI-58 mRNA was inversely correlated with intramyocellular triglyceride in both type 1 (r=−0.35, p<0.05) and type 2 (r=−0.40, p<0.05) fibers. Exercise training resulted in increased muscle ATGL and pioglitazone increased adipose ATGL by 31% (p<0.05). Pioglitazone also increased ATGL in adipocytes.
Adipose ATGL protein is decreased with insulin resistance and obesity, and muscle ATGL mRNA is associated with markers of fatty acid oxidation in muscle, as is CGI-58. The regulation of ATGL and CGI-58 have important implications for the control of lipotoxicity.
PMCID: PMC3062961  PMID: 21129760
CGI-58; muscle fatty acid oxidation; lipotoxicity; exercise; PPARγ
5.  Myocardial Adipose Triglyceride Lipase Overexpression Protects Diabetic Mice From the Development of Lipotoxic Cardiomyopathy 
Diabetes  2013;62(5):1464-1477.
Although diabetic cardiomyopathy is associated with enhanced intramyocardial triacylglycerol (TAG) levels, the role of TAG catabolizing enzymes in this process is unclear. Because the TAG hydrolase, adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL), regulates baseline cardiac metabolism and function, we examined whether alterations in cardiomyocyte ATGL impact cardiac function during uncontrolled type 1 diabetes. In genetic (Akita) and pharmacological (streptozotocin) murine models of type 1 diabetes, cardiac ATGL protein expression and TAG content were significantly increased. To determine whether increased ATGL expression during diabetes is detrimental or beneficial to cardiac function, we studied streptozotocin-diabetic mice with heterozygous ATGL deficiency and cardiomyocyte-specific ATGL overexpression. After diabetes, streptozotocin-diabetic mice with heterozygous ATGL deficiency displayed increased TAG accumulation, lipotoxicity, and diastolic dysfunction comparable to wild-type mice. In contrast, myosin heavy chain promoter (MHC)-ATGL mice were resistant to diabetes-induced increases in intramyocardial TAG levels, lipotoxicity, and cardiac dysfunction. Moreover, hearts from diabetic MHC-ATGL mice exhibited decreased reliance on palmitate oxidation and blunted peroxisome proliferator--activated receptor-α activation. Collectively, this study shows that after diabetes, increased cardiac ATGL expression is an adaptive, albeit insufficient, response to compensate for the accumulation of myocardial TAG, and that overexpression of ATGL is sufficient to ameliorate diabetes-induced cardiomyopathy.
PMCID: PMC3636613  PMID: 23349479
6.  Characterization of Lipolytic Inhibitor G(0)/G(1) Switch Gene-2 Protein (G0S2) Expression in Male Sprague-Dawley Rat Skeletal Muscle Compared to Relative Content of Adipose Triglyceride Lipase (ATGL) and Comparitive Gene Identification-58 (CGI-58) 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0120136.
The rate-limiting enzyme in lipolysis, adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL), is activated by comparative gene identification-58 (CGI-58) and inhibited by the G(0)/G(1) switch gene-2 (G0S2) protein. It is speculated that inhibition of ATGL is through a dose dependent manner of relative G0S2 protein content. There is little work examining G0S2 expression in lipolytic tissues, and the relative expression across oxidative tissues such as skeletal muscle has not yet been described. Three muscles, soleus (SOL), red gastrocnemius (RG), and white gastrocnemius (WG) were excised from 57-day old male Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 9). QRT-PCR was used for mRNA analysis, and western blotting was conducted to determine protein content. ATGL and G0S2 protein content were both greatest in the lipolytic SOL, with the least amount of both ATGL and G0S2 protein content found in the WG. CGI-58 protein content however did not mirror ATGL and G0S2 protein content, since the RG had the greatest CGI-58 protein content when compared to the SOL and WG. When comparing our tissues based on CGI-58-to-ATGL ratio and G0S2-to-ATGL ratio, it was discovered that contrary to oxidative demand, the glycolytic WG had the greatest activator CGI-58-to-ATGL ratio with the oxidative SOL having the least, and no differences in G0S2-to-ATGL across the three muscle types. These data suggest that the content of G0S2 relative to the lipase in skeletal muscle would not predict lipolytic potential.
PMCID: PMC4374944  PMID: 25811590
7.  Cellular Localization and Associations of the Major Lipolytic Proteins in Human Skeletal Muscle at Rest and during Exercise 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e103062.
Lipolysis involves the sequential breakdown of fatty acids from triacylglycerol and is increased during energy stress such as exercise. Adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) is a key regulator of skeletal muscle lipolysis and perilipin (PLIN) 5 is postulated to be an important regulator of ATGL action of muscle lipolysis. Hence, we hypothesized that non-genomic regulation such as cellular localization and the interaction of these key proteins modulate muscle lipolysis during exercise. PLIN5, ATGL and CGI-58 were highly (>60%) colocated with Oil Red O (ORO) stained lipid droplets. PLIN5 was significantly colocated with ATGL, mitochondria and CGI-58, indicating a close association between the key lipolytic effectors in resting skeletal muscle. The colocation of the lipolytic proteins, their independent association with ORO and the PLIN5/ORO colocation were not altered after 60 min of moderate intensity exercise. Further experiments in cultured human myocytes showed that PLIN5 colocation with ORO or mitochondria is unaffected by pharmacological activation of lipolytic pathways. Together, these data suggest that the major lipolytic proteins are highly expressed at the lipid droplet and colocate in resting skeletal muscle, that their localization and interactions appear to remain unchanged during prolonged exercise, and, accordingly, that other post-translational mechanisms are likely regulators of skeletal muscle lipolysis.
PMCID: PMC4108417  PMID: 25054327
8.  Adipose triglyceride lipase activity is inhibited by long-chain acyl-coenzyme A 
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta  2014;1841(4):588-594.
Adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) is required for efficient mobilization of triglyceride (TG) stores in adipose tissue and non-adipose tissues. Therefore, ATGL strongly determines the availability of fatty acids for metabolic reactions. ATGL activity is regulated by a complex network of lipolytic and anti-lipolytic hormones. These signals control enzyme expression and the interaction of ATGL with the regulatory proteins CGI-58 and G0S2. Up to date, it was unknown whether ATGL activity is also controlled by lipid intermediates generated during lipolysis. Here we show that ATGL activity is inhibited by long-chain acyl-CoAs in a non-competitive manner, similar as previously shown for hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL), the rate-limiting enzyme for diglyceride breakdown in adipose tissue. ATGL activity is only marginally inhibited by medium-chain acyl-CoAs, diglycerides, monoglycerides, and free fatty acids. Immunoprecipitation assays revealed that acyl-CoAs do not disrupt the protein–protein interaction of ATGL and its co-activator CGI-58. Furthermore, inhibition of ATGL is independent of the presence of CGI-58 and occurs directly at the N-terminal patatin-like phospholipase domain of the enzyme. In conclusion, our results suggest that inhibition of the major lipolytic enzymes ATGL and HSL by long-chain acyl-CoAs could represent an effective feedback mechanism controlling lipolysis and protecting cells from lipotoxic concentrations of fatty acids and fatty acid-derived lipid metabolites.
Graphical abstract
•Long-chain acyl-CoAs inhibit ATGL in a non-competitive manner.•Inhibition occurs at the N-terminal region of ATGL and independent of CGI-58, the co-activator of ATGL.•Acyl-CoA mediated inhibition of lipolysis could represent a general feedback mechanism protecting cells from fatty acid overload.
PMCID: PMC3988850  PMID: 24440819
Adipose triglyceride lipase; Hormone-sensitive lipase; Lipolysis; Regulation; acyl-CoA
9.  Early structural and metabolic cardiac remodelling in response to inducible adipose triglyceride lipase ablation 
Cardiovascular Research  2013;99(3):442-451.
While chronic alterations in cardiac triacylglycerol (TAG) metabolism and accumulation are associated with cardiomyopathy, it is unclear whether TAG catabolizing enzymes such as adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) play a role in acquired cardiomyopathies. Importantly, germline deletion of ATGL leads to marked cardiac steatosis and heart failure in part through reducing peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα) activity and subsequent fatty acid oxidation (FAO). However, whether ATGL deficiency specifically in adult cardiomyocytes contributes to impaired PPARα activity, cardiac function, and metabolism is not known.
Methods and results
To study the effects of acquired cardiac ATGL deficiency on cardiac PPARα activity, function, and metabolism, we generated adult mice with tamoxifen-inducible cardiomyocyte-specific ATGL deficiency (icAtglKO). Within 4–6 weeks following ATGL ablation, icAtglKO mice had markedly increased myocardial TAG accumulation, fibrotic remodelling, and pathological hypertrophy. Echocardiographic analysis of hearts in vivo revealed that contractile function was moderately reduced in icAtglKO mice. Analysis of energy metabolism in ex vivo perfused working hearts showed diminished FAO rates which was not paralleled by markedly impaired PPARα target gene expression.
This study shows that acquired cardiomyocyte-specific ATGL deficiency in adult mice is sufficient to promote fibrotic and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and impair myocardial FAO in the absence of markedly reduced PPARα signalling.
PMCID: PMC3718322  PMID: 23708736
Cardiomyopathy; Lipid metabolism; Lipid signalling; Remodelling; ATGL
10.  Endothelial dysfunction in adipose triglyceride lipase deficiency 
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta  2014;1841(6):906-917.
Systemic knockout of adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL), the pivotal enzyme of triglyceride lipolysis, results in a murine phenotype that is characterized by progredient cardiac steatosis and severe heart failure. Since cardiac and vascular dysfunction have been closely related in numerous studies we investigated endothelium-dependent and -independent vessel function of ATGL knockout mice. Aortic relaxation studies and Langendorff perfusion experiments of isolated hearts showed that ATGL knockout mice suffer from pronounced micro- and macrovascular endothelial dysfunction. Experiments with agonists directly targeting vascular smooth muscle cells revealed the functional integrity of the smooth muscle cell layer. Loss of vascular reactivity was restored ~ 50% upon treatment of ATGL knockout mice with the PPARα agonist Wy14,643, indicating that this phenomenon is partly a consequence of impaired cardiac contractility. Biochemical analysis revealed that aortic endothelial NO synthase expression and activity were significantly reduced in ATGL deficiency. Enzyme activity was fully restored in ATGL mice treated with the PPARα agonist. Biochemical analysis of perivascular adipose tissue demonstrated that ATGL knockout mice suffer from perivascular inflammatory oxidative stress which occurs independent of cardiac dysfunction and might contribute to vascular defects. Our results reveal a hitherto unrecognized link between disturbed lipid metabolism, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
Graphical abstract
•AKO mice suffer from severe micro- and macrovascular endothelial dysfunction.•Aortic eNOS protein is downregulated in ATGL deficiency due to enhanced proteasomal degradation.•PVAT of AKO mice exhibits characteristics of chronic inflammatory oxidative stress.•At least two independent mechanisms are involved in the endothelial defect.
PMCID: PMC4000266  PMID: 24657704
ACh, acetylcholine; ATGL, adipose triglyceride lipase; AKO, adipose triglyceride lipase knockout; BIP, binding immunoglobulin protein; BK, bradykinin; BSA, bovine serum albumin; CD31, cluster of differentiation 31; CL, chemiluminescence; CPP, coronary perfusion pressure; DEA/NO, 2,2-diethyl-1-nitroso-oxyhydrazine; DMEM, Dulbecco's Modified Eagle Medium; EDTA, ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid; eNOS, endothelial nitric oxide synthase; GAPDH, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; H&E, hematoxylin and eosin; Hsp90, heat shock protein 90; IL-6, interleukin 6; IRE-1α, inostitol-requiring enzyme 1α; Mac-2, galectin-3; MCP-1, monocyte chemotactic protein-1; NLSDM, neutral lipid storage disease with myopathy; NOX, NADPH oxidase; HO-1, heme oxygenase-1; PBS, phosphate-buffered saline; PDI, protein disulfide isomerase; PEG, polyethyleneglycol; PPARα, peroxisome proliferator receptor α; PVAT, perivascular adipose tissue; α-SMA, α-smooth muscle actin; SOD, superoxide dismutase; TG, triacylglycerol; TNFα, tumor necrosis factor α; U 46619, 9,11-dideoxy-9α,11α-epoxy-methanoprostaglandin F2α; VASP, vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein; pVASP, phosphorylated vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein; WAT, white adipose tissue; WT, wild-type; XBP1, X-box-binding protein 1; Adipose triglyceride lipase; Endothelial dysfunction; Perivascular inflammation; Endothelial NO synthase; Vascular proteasome
11.  ATGL is a major hepatic lipase that regulates TAG turnover and fatty acid signaling and partitioning 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2010;53(1):116-126.
Despite advances into our understanding of how nutrient oversupply and triacylglycerol (TAG) anabolism contribute to hepatic steatosis, little is known about the lipases responsible for regulating hepatic TAG turnover. Recent studies have identified adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) as a major lipase in adipose tissue although its role in the liver is largely unknown. Thus, we tested the contribution of ATGL to hepatic lipid metabolism and signaling. Adenoviral-mediated knockdown of hepatic ATGL resulted in steatosis in mice and decreased hydrolysis of TAG in primary hepatocyte cultures and in vitro assays. In addition to altering TAG hydrolysis, ATGL is shown to play a significant role in partitioning hydrolyzed fatty acids between metabolic pathways. Whereas ATGL gain- and loss-of-function did not alter hepatic TAG secretion, fatty acid oxidation was increased by ATGL overexpression and decreased by ATGL knockdown. The effects on fatty acid oxidation coincided with decreased expression of PPAR-α and its target genes in mice with suppressed hepatic ATGL expression. However, PPAR-α agonism was unable to normalize the effects of ATGL knockdown on PPAR-α target gene expression suggesting that ATGL influences PPAR-α activity independent of ligand-induced activation. Taken together, these data show that ATGL is a major hepatic TAG lipase that plays an integral role in fatty acid partitioning and signaling to control energy metabolism.
PMCID: PMC3025059  PMID: 20967758
ATGL; β-oxidation; PPAR-α; TAG
12.  Differential control of ATGL-mediated lipid droplet degradation by CGI-58 and G0S2 
Cell Cycle  2010;9(14):2719-2725.
Lipid droplets (LDs) are intracellular storage sites for triacylglyerols (TAGs) and steryl esters, and play essential roles in energy metabolism and membrane biosynthesis. Adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) is the key enzyme for TAG hydrolysis (lipolysis) in adipocytes and LD degradation in nonadipocyte cells. Lipase activity of ATGL in vivo largely depends on its C-terminal sequence as well as coactivation by CGI-58. Here we demonstrate that the C-terminal hydrophobic domain in ATGL is required for LD targeting and CGI-58-independent LD degradation. Overexpression of wild-type ATGL causes a dramatic decrease in LD size and number, whereas a mutant lacking the hydrophobic domain fails to localize to LDs and to affect their morphology. Interestingly, coexpression of CGI-58 is able to promote LD turnover mediated by this ATGL mutant. Recently we have discovered that G0S2 acts as an inhibitor of ATGL activity and ATGL-mediated lipolysis. Here we show that G0S2 binds to ATGL irrelevantly of its activity state or the presence of CGI-58. In G0S2-expressing cells, the combined expression of CGI-58 and ATGL is incapable of stimulating LD turnover. We propose that CGI-58 and G0S2 regulate ATGL via non-competing mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3040957  PMID: 20676045
lipolysis; lipase; lipid droplet; triacylglycerol; fatty acid
13.  Skeletal Muscle Triacylglycerol Hydrolysis Does Not Influence Metabolic Complications of Obesity 
Diabetes  2013;62(10):3350-3361.
Intramyocellular triacylglycerol (IMTG) accumulation is highly associated with insulin resistance and metabolic complications of obesity (lipotoxicity), whereas comparable IMTG accumulation in endurance-trained athletes is associated with insulin sensitivity (the athlete’s paradox). Despite these findings, it remains unclear whether changes in IMTG accumulation and metabolism per se influence muscle-specific and systemic metabolic homeostasis and insulin responsiveness. By mediating the rate-limiting step in triacylglycerol hydrolysis, adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) has been proposed to influence the storage/production of deleterious as well as essential lipid metabolites. However, the physiological relevance of ATGL-mediated triacylglycerol hydrolysis in skeletal muscle remains unknown. To determine the contribution of IMTG hydrolysis to tissue-specific and systemic metabolic phenotypes in the context of obesity, we generated mice with targeted deletion or transgenic overexpression of ATGL exclusively in skeletal muscle. Despite dramatic changes in IMTG content on both chow and high-fat diets, modulation of ATGL-mediated IMTG hydrolysis did not significantly influence systemic energy, lipid, or glucose homeostasis, nor did it influence insulin responsiveness or mitochondrial function. These data argue against a role for altered IMTG accumulation and lipolysis in muscle insulin resistance and metabolic complications of obesity.
PMCID: PMC3781480  PMID: 23835334
14.  Role of the ubiquitin–proteasome system in cardiac dysfunction of adipose triglyceride lipase-deficient mice 
Systemic deletion of the gene encoding for adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) in mice leads to severe cardiac dysfunction due to massive accumulation of neutral lipids in cardiomyocytes. Recently, impaired peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα) signaling has been described to substantially contribute to the observed cardiac phenotype. Disturbances of the ubiquitin–proteasome system (UPS) have been implicated in numerous cardiac diseases including cardiomyopathy, ischemic heart disease, and heart failure. The objective of the present study was to investigate the potential role of UPS in cardiac ATGL deficiency. Our results demonstrate prominent accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins in hearts of ATGL-deficient mice, an effect that was abolished upon cardiomyocyte-directed overexpression of ATGL. In parallel, cardiac protein expression of the ubiquitin-activating enzyme E1a, which catalyzes the first step of the ubiquitination cascade, was significantly upregulated in ATGL-deficient hearts. Dysfunction of the UPS was accompanied by activation of NF-κB signaling. Moreover, the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-resident chaperon protein disulfide isomerase was significantly upregulated in ATGL-deficient hearts. Chronic treatment of ATGL-deficient mice with the PPARα agonist Wy14,643 improved proteasomal function, prevented NF-κB activation and decreased oxidative stress. In summary, our data point to a hitherto unrecognized link between proteasomal function, PPARα signaling and cardiovascular disease.
•Accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins was increased in ATGL-deficient hearts.•Cardiac NF-κB signaling was upregulated in ATGL deficiency.•Chronic PPARα treatment improved proteasomal function.•Cardiac NOX activity was normalized upon PPARα treatment.
PMCID: PMC4263609  PMID: 25285770
ATF6, activating transcription factor 6; ATGL, adipose triglyceride lipase; AKO, adipose triglyceride lipase knockout; AMC, amino-4-methylcoumarin; CHOP, C/EBP homologous protein; EDTA, ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid; ER, endoplasmic reticulum; FA, fatty acid; GAPDH, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; GRP78, glucose-regulated protein 78 kDa; GTPCH-1, GTP cyclohydrolase 1; HO-1, heme oxygenase-1; IκB, inhibitor of κB; IKK, IκB kinase; IL-6, interleukin 6; I/R, ischemia/reperfusion; IRE-1, inositol-requiring enzyme 1; MCP-1, monocyte chemotactic protein-1; MG132, carbobenzoxy-Leu-Leu-leucinal; NF-κB, nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells; NOX, NADPH oxidase; PDI, protein disulfide isomerase; PGC, PPARγ coactivator; PPARα, peroxisome proliferator receptor α; SDS-PAGE, sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis; SOD-1, Cu,Zn-superoxide dismutase; SucLLVY-AMC, succinyl-Leu-Leu-Val-Tyr-7-amido-4-methylcoumarin; TAG, triacylglyceride; Tfam, mitochondrial transcription factor A; Tg, transgene; TNFα, tumor necrosis factor α; UBE1a, ubiquitin-activating enzyme 1a; UPR, unfolded protein response; UPS, ubiquitin-proteasome system; WT, wild-type; Adipose triglyceride lipase; Cardiac dysfunction; Inflammation; NF-κB; Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α
15.  Micro RNA-124a Regulates Lipolysis via Adipose Triglyceride Lipase and Comparative Gene Identification 58 
Lipolysis is the biochemical pathway responsible for the catabolism of cellular triacylglycerol (TG). Lipolytic TG breakdown is a central metabolic process leading to the generation of free fatty acids (FA) and glycerol, thereby regulating lipid, as well as energy homeostasis. The precise tuning of lipolysis is imperative to prevent lipotoxicity, obesity, diabetes and other related metabolic disorders. Here, we present our finding that miR-124a attenuates RNA and protein expression of the major TG hydrolase, adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL/PNPLA2) and its co-activator comparative gene identification 58 (CGI-58/ABHD5). Ectopic expression of miR-124a in adipocytes leads to reduced lipolysis and increased cellular TG accumulation. This phenotype, however, can be rescued by overexpression of truncated Atgl lacking its 3'UTR, which harbors the identified miR-124a target site. In addition, we observe a strong negative correlation between miR-124a and Atgl expression in various murine tissues. Moreover, miR-124a regulates the expression of Atgl and Cgi-58 in murine white adipose tissue during fasting as well as the expression of Atgl in murine liver, during fasting and re-feeding. Together, these results point to an instrumental role of miR-124a in the regulation of TG catabolism. Therefore, we suggest that miR-124a may be involved in the regulation of several cellular and organismal metabolic parameters, including lipid storage and plasma FA concentration.
PMCID: PMC4425096  PMID: 25894224
miR-124a; metabolism; lipolysis; ATGL; CGI-58
16.  Cardiac oxidative stress in a mouse model of neutral lipid storage disease☆ 
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta  2013;1831(11):1600-1608.
Cardiac oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathogenesis of hypertrophy, cardiomyopathy and heart failure. Systemic deletion of the gene encoding adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL), the enzyme that catalyzes the rate-limiting step of triglyceride lipolysis, results in a phenotype characterized by severe steatotic cardiac dysfunction. The objective of the present study was to investigate a potential role of oxidative stress in cardiac ATGL deficiency. Hearts of mice with global ATGL knockout were compared to those of mice with cardiomyocyte-restricted overexpression of ATGL and to those of wildtype littermates. Our results demonstrate that oxidative stress, measured as lucigenin chemiluminescence, was increased ~ 6-fold in ATGL-deficient hearts. In parallel, cytosolic NADPH oxidase subunits p67phox and p47phox were upregulated 4–5-fold at the protein level. Moreover, a prominent upregulation of different inflammatory markers (tumor necrosis factor α, monocyte chemotactant protein-1, interleukin 6, and galectin-3) was observed in those hearts. Both the oxidative and inflammatory responses were abolished upon cardiomyocyte-restricted overexpression of ATGL. Investigating the effect of oxidative and inflammatory stress on nitric oxide/cGMP signal transduction we observed a ~ 2.5-fold upregulation of soluble guanylate cyclase activity and a ~ 2-fold increase in cardiac tetrahydrobiopterin levels. Systemic treatment of ATGL-deficient mice with the superoxide dismutase mimetic Mn(III)tetrakis (4-benzoic acid) porphyrin did not ameliorate but rather aggravated cardiac oxidative stress. Our data suggest that oxidative and inflammatory stress seems involved in lipotoxic heart disease. Upregulation of soluble guanylate cyclase and cardiac tetrahydrobiopterin might be regarded as counterregulatory mechanisms in cardiac ATGL deficiency.
Graphical abstract
•ATGL(−/−) mice suffer from severe cardiac oxidative stress originating from upregulation of NOX2-dependent NADPH oxidase.•Inflammation markers TNFα, MCP-1, IL-6, and Mac-2 are increased in cardiac ATGL deficiency.•Activity of sGC and cardiac BH4 levels are elevated in ATGL(−/−) hearts.•Systemic treatment of ATGL(−/−) mice with the SOD mimetic MnTBAP did not ameliorate oxidative stress.
PMCID: PMC3795454  PMID: 23867907
ATGL, adipose triglyceride lipase; ATGL(−/−), adipose triglyceride lipase knockout; BH2, dihydrobiopterin, [2-amino-6-(1,2-dihydroxypropyl)-7,8-dihydro-1H-pteridin-4-one]; BH4, tetrahydrobiopterin, [(6R)-2-amino-6-[(1R,2S)-1,2-dihydroxypropyl]-5,6,7,8-tetrahydropteridin-4(1H)-one]; DEA/NO, 2,2-diethyl-1-nitroso-oxyhydrazine; DAG, diacylglycerol; eNOS, endothelial nitric oxide synthase; FFA, free fatty acid; GAPDH, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; (s)GC, (soluble) guanylate cyclase; IL-6, interleukin 6; Mac-2, galectin-3; MCP-1, monocyte chemotactic protein-1; MnTBAP, Mn(III)tetrakis (4-benzoic acid) porphyrin chloride; NADPH, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate; iNOS, inducible nitric oxide synthase; nNOS, neuronal nitric oxide synthase; NO, nitric oxide; NOX, NADPH oxidase; ONOO−, peroxynitrite; PBS, phosphate-buffered saline; PKC, protein kinase C; PPARα, peroxisome proliferator receptor α; SOD, superoxide dismutase; TG, triacylglycerol; TNFα, tumor necrosis factor α; VASP, vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein; pVASP, phosphorylated vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein; Adipose triglyceride lipase; Cardiac hypertrophy; Oxidative stress; Inflammation; NADPH oxidase
17.  Adipose triglyceride lipase is involved in the mobilization of triglyceride and retinoid stores of hepatic stellate cells 
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta  2015;1851(7):937-945.
Hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) store triglycerides (TGs) and retinyl ester (RE) in cytosolic lipid droplets. RE stores are degraded following retinoid starvation or in response to pathogenic stimuli resulting in HSC activation. At present, the major enzymes catalyzing lipid degradation in HSCs are unknown. In this study, we investigated whether adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) is involved in RE catabolism of HSCs. Additionally, we compared the effects of ATGL deficiency and hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) deficiency, a known RE hydrolase (REH), on RE stores in liver and adipose tissue. We show that ATGL degrades RE even in the presence of TGs, implicating that these substrates compete for ATGL binding. REH activity was stimulated and inhibited by comparative gene identification-58 and G0/G1 switch gene-2, respectively, the physiological regulators of ATGL activity. In cultured primary murine HSCs, pharmacological inhibition of ATGL, but not HSL, increased RE accumulation. In mice globally lacking ATGL or HSL, RE contents in white adipose tissue were decreased or increased, respectively, while plasma retinol and liver RE levels remained unchanged. In conclusion, our study shows that ATGL acts as REH in HSCs promoting the degradation of RE stores in addition to its established function as TG lipase. HSL is the predominant REH in adipocytes but does not affect lipid mobilization in HSCs.
Graphical abstract
•ATGL possesses retinyl ester and triacylglycerol hydrolase activity.•The lack of ATGL activity causes increased triacylglycerol and retinyl ester storage in hepatic stellate cells.•ATGL acts as retinyl ester and triacylglycerol lipase in hepatic stellate cells.
PMCID: PMC4408194  PMID: 25732851
Adipose triglyceride lipase; Hepatic stellate cells; Retinoids; Retinyl ester
18.  The G0/G1 Switch Gene 2 Regulates Adipose Lipolysis through Association with Adipose Triglyceride Lipase 
Cell metabolism  2010;11(3):194-205.
Adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) is the rate-limiting enzyme for triacylglycerol (TAG) hydrolysis in adipocytes. The precise mechanisms whereby ATGL is regulated remain uncertain. Here we demonstrate that a protein encoded by G0/G1 switch gene 2 (G0S2) is a selective regulator of ATGL. G0S2 is highly expressed in adipose tissue and differentiated adipocytes. When overexpressed in HeLa cells, G0S2 localizes to lipid droplets and prevents their degradation mediated by ATGL. Moreover, G0S2 specifically interacts with ATGL, requiring the hydrophobic domain of G0S2 and the patatin-like domain of ATGL. More importantly, interaction with G0S2 inhibits the TAG hydrolase activity of ATGL. Furthermore, knockdown of endogenous G0S2 accelerates basal and stimulated lipolysis in adipocytes, while overexpression of G0S2 diminishes the rate of lipolysis in both adipocytes and adipose tissue explants. Thus, G0S2 functions to attenuate ATGL action both in vitro and in vivo, underlying a novel mechanism for the regulation of TAG hydrolysis.
PMCID: PMC3658843  PMID: 20197052
19.  Pleiotropic regulation of mitochondrial function by adipose triglyceride lipase-mediated lipolysis☆ 
Biochimie  2014;96:106-112.
Lipolysis is defined as the catabolism of triacylglycerols (TGs) stored in cellular lipid droplets. Recent discoveries of essential lipolytic enzymes and characterization of numerous regulatory proteins and mechanisms have fundamentally changed our perception of lipolysis and its impact on cellular metabolism. Adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) is the rate-limiting enzyme for TG catabolism in most cells and tissues. This review focuses on recent advances in understanding the (patho)physiological impact due to defective lipolysis by ATGL deficiency on mitochondrial (dys)function. Depending on the type of cells and tissues investigated, absence of ATGL has pleiotropic roles in mitochondrial function.
•ATGL is the rate-limiting enzyme in TG hydrolysis in most organs and cells.•Depending on cell and tissue type ATGL has pleiotropic roles in mitochondrial function.•This review highlights the newest understanding of the impact of ATGL deficiency on mitochondrial (dys)function.
PMCID: PMC3859496  PMID: 23827855
Adipose triglyceride lipase; Triacylglycerol; Lipotoxicity; Mitochondrial function; ATGL, adipose triglyceride lipase; BAT, brown adipose tissue; DG, diacylglycerol; ER, endoplasmic reticulum; FFA, free fatty acids; PGC-1, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma co-activator-1; PPAR, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor; TG, triacylglycerol; WAT, white adipose tissue; Wt, wild-type
20.  Efficient Phagocytosis Requires Triacylglycerol Hydrolysis by Adipose Triglyceride Lipase* 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2010;285(26):20192-20201.
Macrophage phagocytosis is an essential biological process in host defense and requires large amounts of energy. To date, glucose is believed to represent the prime substrate for ATP production in macrophages. To investigate the relative contribution of free fatty acids (FFAs) in this process, we determined the phagocytosis rates in normal mouse macrophages and macrophages of adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL)-deficient mice. ATGL was shown to be the rate-limiting enzyme for the hydrolysis of lipid droplet-associated triacylglycerol (TG) in many tissues. Here, we demonstrate that Atgl−/− macrophages fail to efficiently hydrolyze cellular TG stores leading to decreased cellular FFA concentrations and concomitant accumulation of lipid droplets, even in the absence of exogenous lipid loading. The reduced availability of FFAs results in decreased cellular ATP concentrations and impaired phagocytosis suggesting that fatty acids must first go through a cycle of esterification and re-hydrolysis before they are available as energy substrate. Exogenously added glucose cannot fully compensate for the phagocytotic defect in Atgl−/− macrophages. Hence, phagocytosis was also decreased in vivo when Atgl−/− mice were challenged with bacterial particles. These findings imply that phagocytosis in macrophages depends on the availability of FFAs and that ATGL is required for their hydrolytic release from cellular TG stores. This novel mechanism links ATGL-mediated lipolysis to macrophage function in host defense and opens the way to explore possible roles of ATGL in immune response, inflammation, and atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC2888432  PMID: 20424161
ATP; Fatty Acid Metabolism; Glucose; Lipase; Lipid Droplet; Macrophage; Phagocytosis; Triacylglycerol
21.  Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone Inhibits Adipose Triglyceride Lipase in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes through the PKA Pathway 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(1):e0116439.
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) has been shown to play an important role in the regulation of triglyceride (TG) metabolism in adipose tissue. Adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) is a rate-limiting enzyme controlling the hydrolysis of TG. Thus far, it is unclear whether TSH has a direct effect on the expression of ATGL. Because TSH function is mediated through the TSH receptor (TSHR), TSHR knockout mice (Tshr-/- mice) (supplemented with thyroxine) were used in this study to determine the effects of TSHR deletion on ATGL expression. These effects were verified in 3T3-L1 adipocytes and potential underlying mechanisms were explored. In the Tshr-/- mice, ATGL expression in epididymal adipose tissue was significantly increased compared with that in Tshr+/+ mice. ATGL expression was observed to increase with the differentiation process of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes. In mature 3T3-L1 adipocytes, TSH significantly suppressed ATGL expression at both the protein and mRNA levels in a dose-dependent manner. Forskolin, which is an activator of adenylate cyclase, suppressed the expression of ATGL in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. The inhibitory effects of TSH on ATGL expression were abolished by H89, which is a protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor. These results indicate that TSH has an inhibitory effect on ATGL expression in mature adipocytes. The associated mechanism is related to PKA activation.
PMCID: PMC4295851  PMID: 25590597
22.  Berberine increases adipose triglyceride lipase in 3T3-L1 adipocytes through the AMPK pathway 
Obesity is closely related to the metabolism of triacylglycerol (TG) in adipocytes. Adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) and hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) are rate-limiting enzymes that control the hydrolysis of TG. Effects on ATGL and HSL to increase lipolysis may counteract obesity. Berberine (BBR) is a compound derived from the Chinese medicine plant Coptis chinensis. In the present study we show the effects of BBR on ATGL and HSL and explore the potential underlying mechanisms of these effects.
The TG content in cells was measured using a colorimetric assay. The expressions of HSL, ATGL and GPAT3 were evaluated by Western-blotting. The expression of ATGL was also evaluated by real-time PCR and radioimmunoassay. Compound C, an inhibitor of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), was used to explore the possible pathway that involved in the effect of BBR on ATGL.
TG content of differentiated 3T3-L1 cells was significantly decreased by more than 10% after treated with BBR. In differentiated 3T3-L1 adipocytes, BBR increased the expression of p-HSL and ATGL, and these effects were time-depended (p <0.01). The effect of BBR on ATGL expression could be abolished by Compound C which suggested that AMPK pathway was involved in the effects of BBR on p-HSL and ATGL.
BBR could increase the expression of ATGL and therefore stimulate basal lipolysis in mature adipocytes through the associated mechanisms related to the AMPK pathway.
PMCID: PMC5148888  PMID: 27938388
ATGL; 3T3-L1 cell; HSL; Lipolysis; Obesity
23.  Investigation and Functional Characterization of Rare Genetic Variants in the Adipose Triglyceride Lipase in a Large Healthy Working Population 
PLoS Genetics  2010;6(12):e1001239.
Recent studies demonstrated a strong influence of rare genetic variants on several lipid-related traits. However, their impact on free fatty acid (FFA) plasma concentrations, as well as the role of rare variants in a general population, has not yet been thoroughly addressed. The adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) is encoded by the PNPLA2 gene and catalyzes the rate-limiting step of lipolysis. It represents a prominent candidate gene affecting FFA concentrations. We therefore screened the full genomic region of ATGL for mutations in 1,473 randomly selected individuals from the SAPHIR (Salzburg Atherosclerosis Prevention program in subjects at High Individual Risk) Study using a combined Ecotilling and sequencing approach and functionally investigated all detected protein variants by in-vitro studies. We observed 55 novel mostly rare genetic variants in this general population sample. Biochemical evaluation of all non-synonymous variants demonstrated the presence of several mutated but mostly still functional ATGL alleles with largely varying residual lipolytic activity. About one-quarter (3 out of 13) of the investigated variants presented a marked decrease or total loss of catalytic function. Genetic association studies using both continuous and dichotomous approaches showed a shift towards lower plasma FFA concentrations for rare variant carriers and an accumulation of variants in the lower 10%-quantile of the FFA distribution. However, the generally rather small effects suggest either only a secondary role of rare ATGL variants on the FFA levels in the SAPHIR population or a recessive action of ATGL variants. In contrast to these rather small effects, we describe here also the first patient with “neutral lipid storage disease with myopathy” (NLSDM) with a point mutation in the catalytic dyad, but otherwise intact protein.
Author Summary
The nature of the genetic variation underlying common traits is not yet completely understood. Recently, there has been a shift in the genetic research focus towards the elucidation of the influence of rare variants, which are thought to exert a strong impact on common traits. Circulating free fatty acids are immediate products of the triglyceride breakdown and represent a yet poorly addressed phenotype to study the impact of rare variants on lipolysis. Since ATGL (encoded by the PNPLA2 gene) controls the rate limiting step of lipolysis, we screened its whole gene region in 1,473 healthy individuals and found that 1 out of 13 individuals indeed carried at least one rare mutation. Biochemical investigations showed that, even in a healthy population, several missense variants lead to an impaired catalytic activity and 1 variant even produced a completely inactive protein. However, subsequent association studies revealed only small effects on the free fatty acids levels in the population. This suggests an only secondary role of rare ATGL variants on free fatty acids levels. More generally, we conclude that even in a healthy population pronounced allelic heterogeneity due to the presence of several rare variants may be common.
PMCID: PMC3000363  PMID: 21170305
24.  Lipid Droplet Protein LID-1 Mediates ATGL-1-Dependent Lipolysis during Fasting in Caenorhabditis elegans 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2014;34(22):4165-4176.
Lipolysis is a delicate process involving complex signaling cascades and sequential enzymatic activations. In Caenorhabditis elegans, fasting induces various physiological changes, including a dramatic decrease in lipid contents through lipolysis. Interestingly, C. elegans lacks perilipin family genes which play a crucial role in the regulation of lipid homeostasis in other species. Here, we demonstrate that in the intestinal cells of C. elegans, a newly identified protein, lipid droplet protein 1 (C25A1.12; LID-1), modulates lipolysis by binding to adipose triglyceride lipase 1 (C05D11.7; ATGL-1) during nutritional deprivation. In fasted worms, lipid droplets were decreased in intestinal cells, whereas suppression of ATGL-1 via RNA interference (RNAi) resulted in retention of stored lipid droplets. Overexpression of ATGL-1 markedly decreased lipid droplets, whereas depletion of LID-1 via RNAi prevented the effect of overexpressed ATGL-1 on lipolysis. In adult worms, short-term fasting increased cyclic AMP (cAMP) levels, which activated protein kinase A (PKA) to stimulate lipolysis via ATGL-1 and LID-1. Moreover, ATGL-1 protein stability and LID-1 binding were augmented by PKA activation, eventually leading to increased lipolysis. These data suggest the importance of the concerted action of lipase and lipid droplet protein in the response to fasting signals via PKA to maintain lipid homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC4248714  PMID: 25202121
Journal of cellular biochemistry  2008;105(6):1430-1436.
In adipocytes, lipid droplet (LD) size reflects a balance of triglyceride synthesis (lipogenesis) and hydrolysis (lipolysis). Perilipin A (Peri A), is the most abundant phosphoprotein on the surface of adipocyte LDs and has a crucial role in lipid storage and lipolysis. Adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) and hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) are the major rate-determining enzymes for lipolysis in adipocytes. Each of these proteins (Peri A, ATGL and HSL) have been demonstrated to regulate lipid storage and release in the adipocyte. However, in the absence of PKA stimulation (basal state), the lipases (ATGL and HSL) are located mainly in the cytoplasm, and their contribution to basal rates of lipolysis and influence on LD size are poorly understood. In this study, we utilize an adenoviral system to knockdown or overexpress ATGL and HSL in an engineered model system of adipocytes in the presence or absence of Peri A. We are able to demonstrate in our experimental model system, that in the basal state, LD size, triglyceride storage, and fatty acid release are mainly influenced by expression of ATGL. These results demonstrate for the first time the relative contributions of ATGL, HSL, and Peri A on determination of LD size in the absence of PKA-stimulation.
PMCID: PMC2593643  PMID: 18980248
perilipin; ATGL; HSL; lipid droplet; adipocyte; lipolysis

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