Diurnal variation in nitrogen homeostasis is observed across phylogeny. But whether these are endogenous rhythms, and if so, molecular mechanisms that link nitrogen homeostasis to the circadian clock remain unknown. Here, we provide evidence that a clock-dependent peripheral oscillator, Krüppel-like factor15 transcriptionally coordinates rhythmic expression of multiple enzymes involved in mammalian nitrogen homeostasis. In particular, Krüppel-like factor15-deficient mice exhibit no discernable amino acid rhythm, and the rhythmicity of ammonia to urea detoxification is impaired. Of the external cues, feeding plays a dominant role in modulating Krüppel-like factor15 rhythm and nitrogen homeostasis. Further, when all behavioral, environmental and dietary cues were controlled in humans, nitrogen homeostasis still expressed endogenous circadian rhythmicity. Thus, in mammals, nitrogen homeostasis exhibits circadian rhythmicity, and is orchestrated by Krüppel-like factor15.
The complexes of the electron transport chain associate into large macromolecular assemblies, which are believed to facilitate efficient electron flow. We have identified a conserved mitochondrial protein, named Respiratory superComplex Factor 1 (Rcf1—Yml030w), that is required for the normal assembly of respiratory supercomplexes. We demonstrate that Rcf1 stably and independently associates with both Complex III and Complex IV of the electron transport chain. Deletion of the RCF1 gene caused impaired respiration, probably as a result of destabilization of respiratory supercomplexes. Consistent with the hypothetical function of these respiratory assemblies, loss of RCF1 caused elevated mitochondrial oxidative stress and damage. Finally, we show that knockdown of HIG2A, a mammalian homolog of RCF1, causes impaired supercomplex formation. We suggest that Rcf1 is a member of an evolutionarily conserved protein family that acts to promote respiratory supercomplex assembly and activity.
Autophagy is generally considered to be a cytoprotective response to stress, whether in the form of nutrient deprivation or the presence of dysfunctional organelles. He et al. now show in Nature that exercise-induced autophagy is needed for some of the beneficial effects of exercise on metabolism (He et al., 2012).
Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in insulin-resistant (type 2) diabetes. Vascular endothelial dysfunction paves the way for atherosclerosis through impaired nitric oxide availability, inflammation, and generation of superoxide. Surprisingly, we show that ablation of the three genes encoding isoforms of transcription factor FoxO in endothelial cells prevents atherosclerosis in Low-density lipoprotein receptor knockout mice by reversing these sub-phenotypes. Paradoxically, the atheroprotective effect of FoxO deletion is associated with a marked decrease of insulin-dependent Akt phosphorylation in endothelial cells, owing to reduced FoxO-dependent expression of the insulin receptor adaptor proteins, Irs1 and Irs2. These findings support a model in which FoxO is the shared effector of multiple atherogenic pathways in endothelial cells. FoxO ablation lowers the threshold of Akt activity required for protection from atherosclerosis. The data demonstrate that FoxO inhibition in endothelial cells has the potential to mediate wide-ranging therapeutic benefits for diabetes-associated cardiovascular disease.
The assembly and function of the mitochondrial respiratory chain (RC) involve the organization of RC enzyme complexes in supercomplexes or respirasomes through an unknown biosynthetic process. This leads to structural interdependences between RC complexes, which are highly relevant from biological and biomedical perspectives, because RC defects lead to severe human disorders. We show that in human cells, respirasome biogenesis involves a complex I assembly intermediate acting as a scaffold for the combined incorporation of complexes III and IV subunits, rather than originating from the association of preassembled individual holoenzymes. The process ends with the incorporation of complex I NADH dehydrogenase catalytic module, which leads to the respirasome activation. While complexes III and IV assemble either as free holoenzymes or by incorporation of free subunits into supercomplexes, the respirasomes constitute the structural units where complex I is assembled and activated, thus explaining the functional significance of the respirasomes for RC function.
Brown adipose tissue dissipates energy through heat and functions as a defense against cold and obesity. PPAR ligands have been shown to induce the browning of white adipocytes; however, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here we show that PPAR ligands require full agonism to induce a brown fat gene program preferentially in subcutaneous white adipose. These effects require expression of PRDM16, a factor that controls the development of classical brown fat. Depletion of PRDM16 blunts the effects of the PPAR agonist rosiglitazone on the induced brown fat gene program. Conversely, PRDM16 and rosiglitazone synergistically activate the brown fat gene program in vivo. This synergy is tightly associated with an increased accumulation of PRDM16 protein, due in large measure to an increase in the half-life of the protein in agonist treated cells. Identifying compounds that stabilize PRDM16 protein may represent a plausible therapeutic pathway for the treatment of obesity and diabetes.
Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) is a fasting-induced hepatokine that has potent pharmacologic effects in mice, which include improving insulin sensitivity and blunting growth. The single-transmembrane protein, βKlotho, functions as a co-receptor for FGF21 in vitro. To determine if βKlotho is required for FGF21 action in vivo, we generated whole-body and adipose tissue-selective βKlotho knockout mice. All of the effects of FGF21 on growth and metabolism were lost in whole-body βKlotho knockout mice. Selective elimination of βKlotho in adipose tissue blocked the acute insulin-sensitizing effects of FGF21. Taken together, these data demonstrate that βKlotho is essential for FGF21 activity and that βKlotho in adipose tissue contributes to the beneficial metabolic actions of FGF21.
Various specialized domains have been described in the cytosol and the nucleus; however, little is known about compartmentalization within the mitochondrial matrix. GRSF1 (G-rich sequence factor 1) is an RNA binding protein that was previously reported to localize in the cytosol. We found that an isoform of GRSF1 accumulates in discrete foci in the mitochondrial matrix. These foci are composed of nascent mitochondrial RNA and also contain RNase P, an enzyme that participates in mitochondrial RNA processing. GRSF1 was found to interact with RNase P and to be required for processing of both classical and tRNA-less RNA precursors. In its absence, cleavage of primary RNA transcripts is abnormal, leading to decreased expression of mitochondrially encoded proteins and mitochondrial dysfunction. Our findings suggest that the foci containing GRSF1 and RNase P correspond to sites where primary RNA transcripts converge to be processed. We have termed these large ribonucleoprotein structures “mitochondrial RNA granules.”
► GRSF1 resides in the mitochondrial matrix and is required for mitochondrial function ► GRSF1 is required for the processing of tRNA-containing and tRNA-lacking precursors ► GRSF1, RNase P, and nascent RNA are part of “mitochondrial RNA granules” ► Mitochondrial RNA granules are functionally linked to RNA processing
The central nervous system (CNS) plays key role in the homeostatic regulation of body weight. Satiation and adiposity signals, providing acute and chronic information about available fuel, are produced in the periphery and act in the brain to influence energy intake and expenditure, resulting in the maintenance of stable adiposity. Diet-induced obesity (DIO) does not result from a failure of these central homeostatic circuits. Rather, the threshold for defended adiposity is increased in environments providing ubiquitous access to palatable, high-fat foods, making it difficult to achieve and maintain weight loss. Consequently, mechanisms by which nutritional environments interact with central homeostatic circuits to influence the threshold for defended adiposity represent critical targets for therapeutic intervention.
The hypothalamic melanocortin system, which includes neurons that produce proopiomelanocortin (POMC)-derived peptides, is a major negative regulator of energy balance. POMC neurons begin to acquire their unique properties during neonatal life. The formation of functional neural systems requires massive cytoplasmic remodeling that may involve autophagy, an important intracellular mechanism for the degradation of damaged proteins and organelles. Here we investigated the functional and structural effects of the deletion of an essential autophagy gene, Atg7, in POMC neurons. Lack of Atg7 in POMC neurons caused higher post-weaning body weight, increased adiposity, and glucose intolerance. These metabolic impairments were associated with an age-dependant accumulation of ubiquitin/p62-positive aggregates in the hypothalamus and a disruption in the maturation of POMC-containing axonal projections. Together, these data provide direct genetic evidence that Atg7 in POMC neurons is required for normal metabolic regulation and neural development, and they implicate hypothalamic autophagy deficiency in the pathogenesis of obesity.
Caveolin-1 is a major structural component of raft structures within the plasma membrane and has been implicated as a regulator of cellular signal transduction with prominent expression in adipocytes. Here, we embarked on a comprehensive characterization of the metabolic pathways dysregulated in caveolin-1 null mice. We found that these mice display decreased circulating levels of total and high molecular weight adiponectin and a reduced ability to change substrate use in response to feeding/fasting conditions. Caveolin-1 null mice are extremely lean, but retain muscle mass despite lipodystrophy and massive metabolic dysfunction. Hepatic gluconeogenesis is chronically elevated, while hepatic steatosis is reduced. Our data suggest that the complex phenotype of the caveolin-1 null mouse is caused by altered metabolic and mitochondrial function in adipose tissue with a subsequent compensatory response driven mostly by the liver. This mouse model highlights the central contributions of adipose tissue for system-wide preservation of metabolic flexibility.
Adipose tissue expansion involves the enlargement of existing adipocytes, the formation of new cells from committed preadipocytes, and the coordinated development of the tissue vascular network. Here we find that murine endothelial cells (EC) of classic white and brown fat depots share ultrastructural characteristics with pericytes, which are pluripotent and can potentially give rise to preadipocytes. Lineage tracing experiments using the VE-cadherin promoter reveal localization of reporter genes in EC, and also in preadipocytes and adipocytes of white and brown fat depots. Furthermore, capillary sprouts from human adipose tissue, which have predominantly EC characteristics, are found to express Zfp423, a recently identified marker of preadipocyte determination. In response to PPARγ activation, endothelial characteristics of sprouting cells are progressively lost, and cells form structurally and biochemically defined adipocytes. Together these data support an endothelial origin of murine and human adipocytes, suggesting a model for how adipogenesis and angiogenesis are coordinated during adipose tissue expansion.
adipose stem cells; preadipocytes; adipogenesis; white adipose tissue; electron microscopy; in vivo lineage tracing; adipose tissue explants
Several lines of evidence suggest that mitochondrial dysfunction plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of microvascular complications of diabetes, including diabetic nephropathy. However, the signaling pathways by which hyperglycemia leads to mitochondrial dysfunction are not fully understood. Here we examined the role of Rho-associated coiled-coil containing protein kinase 1 (ROCK1) on mitochondrial dynamics by generating two diabetic mouse models with targeted deletions of ROCK1, and an inducible podocyte-specific knock-in mouse expressing a constitutively active (cA) mutant of ROCK1. Our findings suggest that ROCK1 mediates hyperglycemia-induced mitochondrial fission by promoting dynamin-related protein-1 (Drp1) recruitment to the mitochondria. Deletion of ROCK1 in diabetic mice prevented mitochondrial fission, whereas podocyte-specific cA-ROCK1 mice exhibited increased mitochondrial fission. Importantly, we found that ROCK1 triggers mitochondrial fission by phosphorylating Drp1 at Serine 600 residue. These findings provide insights into the unexpected role of ROCK1 in a signaling cascade that regulates mitochondrial dynamics.
NAD(P)H oxidase has been shown to be important in the development of salt-sensitive hypertension. Here we show that the expression of a subunit of NAD(P)H oxidase, p67phox, was increased in response to a high salt diet in the outer renal medulla of the Dahl salt-sensitive (SS) rat, an animal model for human salt-sensitive hypertension. The higher expression of p67phox, not the other subunits observed, was associated with higher NAD(P)H oxidase activity and salt-sensitivity in SS rats compared with a salt-resistant strain. Genetic mutations of the SS allele of p67phox were found in the promoter region and contributed to higher promoter activity than that of the salt-resistant strain. To verify the importance of p67phox, we disrupted p67phox in SS rats using zinc finger nucleases technology. These rats exhibited a significant reduction of salt-sensitive hypertension and renal medullary oxidative stress and injury. p67phox could represent a target for salt-sensitive hypertension therapy.
The altered metabolism of tumors has been considered a target for anti-cancer therapy. However, the relationship between distinct tumor-initiating lesions and anomalies of tumor metabolism in vivo has not been addressed. We report that MYC-induced mouse liver tumors significantly increase both glucose and glutamine catabolism, whereas MET-induced liver tumors use glucose to produce glutamine. Increased glutamine catabolism in MYC-induced liver tumors is associated with decreased levels of glutamine synthetase (Glul) and the switch from Gls2 to Gls1 glutaminase. In contrast to liver tumors, MYC-induced lung tumors display increased expression of both Glul and Gls1 and accumulate glutamine. We also show that inhibition of Gls1 kills cells that over-express MYC and catabolize glutamine. Our results suggest that the metabolic profiles of tumors are likely to depend on both the genotype and tissue of origin and have implications regarding the design of therapies targeting tumor metabolism.
Plasticity in growth and reproductive behavior is found in many vertebrate species, but is common in male teleost fish. Typically, “bourgeois” males are considerably larger and defend breeding territories while “parasitic” variants are small and use opportunistic breeding strategies. The P locus mediates this phenotypic variation in Xipophorus and encodes variant alleles of the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R). However, deletion of the MC4R has modest effects on somatic growth and reproduction in mammals, suggesting a fundamental difference in the neuroendocrine function of central melanocortin signaling in teleosts. Here we show in a teleost that the hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin and AgRP neurons are hypophysiotropic, projecting to the pituitary to coordinately regulate multiple pituitary hormones. Indeed, AgRP-mediated suppression of MC4R appears essential for early larval growth. This identifies the mechanism by which the central melanocortin system coordinately regulates growth and reproduction in teleosts, and suggests it is an important anatomical substrate for evolutionary adaptation.
Progress has been made in elucidating the cell surface phenotype of primary adipose progenitors; however, specific functional markers and distinct molecular signatures of fat depot-specific preadipocytes have remained elusive. In this study, we label committed murine adipose progenitors through expression of GFP from the genetic locus for Zfp423, a gene controlling preadipocyte determination. Selection of GFP-expressing fibroblasts from either subcutaneous or visceral adipose-derived stromal vascular cultures isolates stably committed preadipocytes that undergo robust adipogenesis. Immunohistochemistry for Zfp423-driven GFP expression in vivo confirms a perivascular origin of preadipocytes within both white and brown adipose tissues. Interestingly, a small subset of capillary endothelial cells within white and brown fat also express this marker, suggesting a contribution of specialized endothelial cells to the adipose lineage. Zfp423GFP mice represent a simple tool for the specific localization and isolation of molecularly defined preadipocytes from distinct adipose tissue depots.
adipose stem cells; adipogenesis; PPARγ; Zfp423; preadipocytes; white adipose tissue; cell fate determination
DEP domain containing mTOR-interacting protein (DEPTOR) inhibits the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) but its in vivo functions are unknown. Previous work indicates that Deptor is part of the Fob3a quantitative trait locus (QTL) linked to obesity/leanness in mice with Deptor expression being elevated in white adipose tissue (WAT) of obese animals. This relation is unexpected considering the positive role of mTOR in adipogenesis. Here, we dissected the Fob3a QTL and show that Deptor is the highest priority candidate promoting WAT expansion in this model. Consistently, transgenic mice overexpressing DEPTOR accumulate more WAT. Furtheremore, in humans, DEPTOR expression in WAT correlates with the degree of obesity. We show that DEPTOR is induced by glucocorticoids during adipogenesis and that its overexpression promotes, while its suppression blocks, adipogenesis. DEPTOR activates the pro-adipogenic Akt/PKB-PPAR-γ axis by dampening mTORC1-mediated feedback inhibition of insulin signaling. These results establish DEPTOR as a new regulator of adipogenesis.
Adipose tissue plays an important role in storing excess nutrients and preventing ectopic lipid accumulation in other organs. Obesity leads to excess lipid storage in adipocytes, resulting in the generation of stress signals and the derangement of metabolic functions. SIRT1 is an important regulatory sensor of nutrient availability in many metabolic tissues. Here we report that SIRT1 functions in adipose tissue to protect from inflammation and obesity under normal feeding conditions, and to forestall the progression to metabolic dysfunction under dietary stress and aging. Genetic ablation of SIRT1 in adipose tissue leads to gene expression changes that highly overlap with changes induced by high-fat diet in wild-type mice, suggesting that dietary stress signals inhibit the activity of SIRT1. Indeed, we show that high-fat diet induces the cleavage of SIRT1 protein in adipose tissue by the inflammation-activated caspase-1, providing a link between dietary stress and predisposition to metabolic dysfunction.
The association of type 2 diabetes with elevated plasma triglyceride (TG) and very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL), and intrahepatic lipid accumulation represents a pathophysiological enigma and an unmet therapeutic challenge. Here we uncover a link between insulin action through FoxO1, bile acid (BA) composition, and altered lipid homeostasis that brings new insight to this longstanding conundrum. FoxO1 ablation brings about two signature lipid abnormalities of diabetes and the metabolic syndrome, elevated liver and plasma TG. These changes are associated with deficiency of 12α-hydroxylated BAs and their synthetic enzyme, Cyp8b1, that hinders the TG-lowering effects of the BA receptor, Fxr. Accordingly, pharmacological activation of Fxr with GW4064 overcomes the BA imbalance, restoring hepatic and plasma TG levels of FoxO1-deficient mice to normal levels. We propose that generation of 12α-hydroxylated products of BA metabolism represents a signaling mechanism linking hepatic lipid abnormalities with type 2 diabetes, and a treatment target for this condition.
Although transintestinal cholesterol efflux has been identified as an important means of clearing excess sterols, the mechanisms that underlie this process remain poorly understood. Here we show that magro, a direct target of the Drosophila DHR96 nuclear receptor, is required in the intestine to maintain cholesterol homeostasis. Magro encodes a LipA homolog that is secreted from the anterior gut into the intestinal lumen to digest dietary triacylglycerol. Expression of magro in intestinal cells is required to hydrolyze cholesterol esters and promote cholesterol clearance. Restoring magro expression in the intestine of DHR96 mutants rescues their defects in triacylglycerol and cholesterol metabolism. These studies show that the central role of the intestine in cholesterol efflux has been conserved through evolution, that the ancestral function of LipA is to coordinate triacylglycerol and cholesterol metabolism, and that the region-specific activities of magro correspond to the metabolic functions of its upstream regulator, DHR96.
nuclear receptors; lipid metabolism; cholesterol; LipA; LXR; cholesterol efflux
Glycogen phosphorylase (GP) catalyzes the rate-limiting step in glycogen catabolism and plays a key role in maintaining cellular and organismal glucose homeostasis. GP is the first protein whose function was discovered to be regulated by reversible protein phosphorylation, which is controlled by phosphorylase kinase (PhK) and protein phosphatase 1 (PP1). Here, we report that lysine acetylation negatively regulates GP activity by both inhibiting enzyme activity directly and promoting dephosphorylation. Acetylation of GP Lys470 enhances its interaction with the PP1 substrate targeting subunit, GL, and PP1, thereby promoting GP dephosphorylation and inactivation. We show that GP acetylation is stimulated by glucose and insulin and inhibited by glucagon. Our results provide molecular insights into the intricate regulation of the classical GP and a functional cross-talk between protein acetylation and phosphorylation.
Acetylation; phosphorylation; metabolism; insulin; glycogen phosphorylase
Because MYC plays a causal role in many human cancers, including those with hypoxic and nutrient-poor tumor microenvironments, we have determined the metabolic responses of a MYC-inducible human Burkitt lymphoma model P493 cell line to aerobic and hypoxic conditions, and to glucose deprivation, using Stable Isotope Resolved Metabolomics. Using [U-13C]-glucose as the tracer, both glucose consumption and lactate production were increased by MYC expression and hypoxia. Using [U-13C,15N]-glutamine as the tracer, glutamine import and metabolism through the TCA cycle persisted under hypoxia, and glutamine contributed significantly to citrate carbons. Under glucose deprivation, glutamine-derived fumarate, malate, and citrate were significantly increased. Their 13C labeling patterns demonstrate an alternative energy-generating glutaminolysis pathway involving a glucose-independent TCA cycle. The essential role of glutamine metabolism in cell survival and proliferation under hypoxia and glucose deficiency, makes them susceptible to the glutaminase inhibitor BPTES, and hence could be targeted for cancer therapy.
Glucose-independent glutamine-dependent TCA cycle; metabolism of survival
Genome-wide association studies have identified GALNT2 as a candidate gene in lipid metabolism, but it is not known how the encoded enzyme ppGal-NAc-T2, which contributes to the initiation of mucin-type O-linked glycosylation, mediates this effect. In two probands with elevated plasma high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and reduced triglycerides, we identified a mutation in GALNT2. It is shown that carriers have improved postprandial triglyceride clearance, which is likely attributable to attenuated glycosylation of apolipoprotein (apo) C-III, as observed in their plasma. This protein inhibits lipoprotein lipase (LPL), which hydrolyses plasma triglycerides. We show that an apoC-III-based peptide is a substrate for ppGalNAc-T2 while its glycosylation by the mutant enzyme is impaired. In addition, neuraminidase treatment of apoC-III which removes the sialic acids from its glycan chain decreases its potential to inhibit LPL. Combined, these data suggest that ppGalNAc-T2 can affect lipid metabolism through apoC-III glycosylation, thereby establishing GALNT2 as a lipid-modifying gene.
Long-term usage of rosiglitazone, a synthetic PPARγ agonist, increases fracture rates among diabetic patients. PPARγ suppresses osteoblastogenesis while activating osteoclastogenesis, suggesting that rosiglitazone decreases bone formation while sustaining or increasing bone resorption. Using mouse models with genetically altered PPARγ, PGC1β or ERRα, here we show that PGC1β is required for the resorption-enhancing effects of rosiglitazone. PPARγ activation indirectly induces PGC1β expression by down-regulating β-catenin and derepressing c-jun. PGC1β in turn functions as a PPARγ coactivator to stimulate osteoclast differentiation. Complementarily, PPARγ also induces ERRα expression, which coordinates with PGC1β to enhance mitochondrial biogenesis and osteoclast function. ERRα knockout mice exhibit osteoclast defects, revealing ERRα as an important regulator of osteoclastogenesis. Strikingly, PGC1β deletion in osteoclasts confers complete resistance to rosiglitazone-induced bone loss. These findings identify PGC1β as an essential mediator for the PPARγ stimulation of osteoclastogenesis by targeting both PPARγ itself and ERRα, thus activating two distinct transcriptional programs.