The incorporation of excess saturated free fatty acids (SFAs) into membrane phospholipids within the ER promotes ER stress, insulin resistance, and hepatic gluconeogenesis. Thioesterase superfamily member 2 (Them2) is a mitochondria-associated long-chain fatty acyl-CoA thioesterase that is activated upon binding phosphatidylcholine transfer protein (PC-TP). Under fasting conditions, the Them2/PC-TP complex directs saturated fatty acyl-CoA toward β-oxidation. Here, we showed that during either chronic overnutrition or acute induction of ER stress, Them2 and PC-TP play critical roles in trafficking SFAs into the glycerolipid biosynthetic pathway to form saturated phospholipids, which ultimately reduce ER membrane fluidity. The Them2/PC-TP complex activated ER stress pathways by enhancing translocon-mediated efflux of ER calcium. The increased cytosolic calcium, in turn, led to the phosphorylation of calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II, which promoted both hepatic insulin resistance and gluconeogenesis. These findings delineate a mechanistic link between obesity and insulin resistance and establish the Them2/PC-TP complex as an attractive target for the management of hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance.
Baran A. Ersoy, Kristal M. Maner-Smith, Yingxia Li, Ipek Alpertunga, David E. Cohen
Glucagon plays a major role in the regulation of glucose homeostasis during fed and fasting states. However, the mechanisms responsible for the regulation of pancreatic α cell mass and function are not completely understood. In the current study, we identified mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) as a major regulator of α cell mass and glucagon secretion. Using mice with tissue-specific deletion of the mTORC1 regulator Raptor in α cells (αRaptorKO), we showed that mTORC1 signaling is dispensable for α cell development, but essential for α cell maturation during the transition from a milk-based diet to a chow-based diet after weaning. Moreover, inhibition of mTORC1 signaling in αRaptorKO mice and in WT animals exposed to chronic rapamycin administration decreased glucagon content and glucagon secretion. In αRaptorKO mice, impaired glucagon secretion occurred in response to different secretagogues and was mediated by alterations in KATP channel subunit expression and activity. Additionally, our data identify the mTORC1/FoxA2 axis as a link between mTORC1 and transcriptional regulation of key genes responsible for α cell function. Thus, our results reveal a potential function of mTORC1 in nutrient-dependent regulation of glucagon secretion and identify a role for mTORC1 in controlling α cell–mass maintenance.
Nadejda Bozadjieva, Manuel Blandino-Rosano, Jennifer Chase, Xiao-Qing Dai, Kelsey Cummings, Jennifer Gimeno, Danielle Dean, Alvin C. Powers, George K. Gittes, Markus A. Rüegg, Michael N. Hall, Patrick E. MacDonald, Ernesto Bernal-Mizrachi
Unbiased, “nontargeted” metabolite profiling techniques hold considerable promise for biomarker and pathway discovery, in spite of the lack of successful applications to human disease. By integrating nontargeted metabolomics, genetics, and detailed human phenotyping, we identified dimethylguanidino valeric acid (DMGV) as an independent biomarker of CT-defined nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in the offspring cohort of the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) participants. We verified the relationship between DMGV and early hepatic pathology. Specifically, plasma DMGV levels were correlated with biopsy-proven nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in a hospital cohort of individuals undergoing gastric bypass surgery, and DMGV levels fell in parallel with improvements in post-procedure cardiometabolic parameters. Further, baseline DMGV levels independently predicted future diabetes up to 12 years before disease onset in 3 distinct human cohorts. Finally, we provide all metabolite peak data consisting of known and unidentified peaks, genetics, and key metabolic parameters as a publicly available resource for investigations in cardiometabolic diseases.
John F. O’Sullivan, Jordan E. Morningstar, Qiong Yang, Baohui Zheng, Yan Gao, Sarah Jeanfavre, Justin Scott, Celine Fernandez, Hui Zheng, Sean O’Connor, Paul Cohen, Ramachandran S. Vasan, Michelle T. Long, James G. Wilson, Olle Melander, Thomas J. Wang, Caroline Fox, Randall T. Peterson, Clary B. Clish, Kathleen E. Corey, Robert E. Gerszten
Dysregulated adipocyte physiology leads to imbalanced energy storage, obesity, and associated diseases, imposing a costly burden on current health care. Cannabinoid receptor type-1 (CB1) plays a crucial role in controlling energy metabolism through central and peripheral mechanisms. In this work, adipocyte-specific inducible deletion of the CB1 gene (Ati-CB1–KO) was sufficient to protect adult mice from diet-induced obesity and associated metabolic alterations and to reverse the phenotype in already obese mice. Compared with controls, Ati-CB1–KO mice showed decreased body weight, reduced total adiposity, improved insulin sensitivity, enhanced energy expenditure, and fat depot–specific cellular remodeling toward lowered energy storage capacity and browning of white adipocytes. These changes were associated with an increase in alternatively activated macrophages concomitant with enhanced sympathetic tone in adipose tissue. Remarkably, these alterations preceded the appearance of differences in body weight, highlighting the causal relation between the loss of CB1 and the triggering of metabolic reprogramming in adipose tissues. Finally, the lean phenotype of Ati-CB1–KO mice and the increase in alternatively activated macrophages in adipose tissue were also present at thermoneutral conditions. Our data provide compelling evidence for a crosstalk among adipocytes, immune cells, and the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), wherein CB1 plays a key regulatory role.
Inigo Ruiz de Azua, Giacomo Mancini, Raj Kamal Srivastava, Alejandro Aparisi Rey, Pierre Cardinal, Laura Tedesco, Cristina Maria Zingaretti, Antonia Sassmann, Carmelo Quarta, Claudia Schwitter, Andrea Conrad, Nina Wettschureck, V. Kiran Vemuri, Alexandros Makriyannis, Jens Hartwig, Maria Mendez-Lago, Laura Bindila, Krisztina Monory, Antonio Giordano, Saverio Cinti, Giovanni Marsicano, Stefan Offermanns, Enzo Nisoli, Uberto Pagotto, Daniela Cota, Beat Lutz
Liver triacylglycerol (TAG) synthesis and secretion are closely linked to nutrient availability. After a meal, hepatic TAG formation from fatty acids is decreased, largely due to a reduction in circulating free fatty acids (FFA). Despite the postprandial decrease in FFA-driven esterification and oxidation, VLDL-TAG secretion is maintained to support peripheral lipid delivery and metabolism. The regulatory mechanisms underlying the postprandial control of VLDL-TAG secretion remain unclear. Here, we demonstrated that the mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) is essential for this sustained VLDL-TAG secretion and lipid homeostasis. In murine models, the absence of hepatic mTORC1 reduced circulating TAG, despite hepatosteatosis, while activation of mTORC1 depleted liver TAG stores. Additionally, mTORC1 promoted TAG secretion by regulating phosphocholine cytidylyltransferase α (CCTα), the rate-limiting enzyme involved in the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine (PC). Increasing PC synthesis in mice lacking mTORC1 rescued hepatosteatosis and restored TAG secretion. These data identify mTORC1 as a major regulator of phospholipid biosynthesis and subsequent VLDL-TAG secretion, leading to increased postprandial TAG secretion.
William J. Quinn III, Min Wan, Swapnil V. Shewale, Rebecca Gelfer, Daniel J. Rader, Morris J. Birnbaum, Paul M. Titchenell
Olfactory receptors (ORs) are present in tissues outside the olfactory system; however, the function of these receptors remains relatively unknown. Here, we determined that olfactory receptor 544 (Olfr544) is highly expressed in the liver and adipose tissue of mice and regulates cellular energy metabolism and obesity. Azelaic acid (AzA), an Olfr544 ligand, specifically induced PKA-dependent lipolysis in adipocytes and promoted fatty acid oxidation (FAO) and ketogenesis in liver, thus shifting the fuel preference to fats. After 6 weeks of administration, mice fed a high-fat diet (HFD) exhibited a marked reduction in adiposity. AzA treatment induced expression of PPAR-α and genes required for FAO in the liver and induced the expression of PPAR-γ coactivator 1-α (Ppargc1a) and uncoupling protein-1 (Ucp1) genes in brown adipose tissue (BAT). Moreover, treatment with AzA increased insulin sensitivity and ketone body levels. This led to a reduction in the respiratory quotient and an increase in the FAO rate, as indicated by indirect calorimetry. AzA treatment had similar antiobesogenic effects in HFD-fed ob/ob mice. Importantly, AzA-associated metabolic changes were completely abrogated in HFD-fed Olfr544–/– mice. To our knowledge, this is the first report to show that Olfr544 orchestrates the metabolic interplay between the liver and adipose tissue, mobilizing stored fats from adipose tissue and shifting the fuel preference to fats in the liver and BAT.
Chunyan Wu, Su Hyeon Hwang, Yaoyao Jia, Joobong Choi, Yeon-Ji Kim, Dahee Choi, Duleepa Pathiraja, In-Geol Choi, Seung-Hoi Koo, Sung-Joon Lee
Overconsumption of high-fat diet (HFD) and sugar-sweetened beverages are risk factors for developing obesity, insulin resistance, and fatty liver disease. Here we have dissected mechanisms underlying this association using mice fed either chow or HFD with or without fructose- or glucose-supplemented water. In chow-fed mice, there was no major physiological difference between fructose and glucose supplementation. On the other hand, mice on HFD supplemented with fructose developed more pronounced obesity, glucose intolerance, and hepatomegaly as compared to glucose-supplemented HFD mice, despite similar caloric intake. Fructose and glucose supplementation also had distinct effects on expression of the lipogenic transcription factors ChREBP and SREBP1c. While both sugars increased ChREBP-β, fructose supplementation uniquely increased SREBP1c and downstream fatty acid synthesis genes, resulting in reduced liver insulin signaling. In contrast, glucose enhanced total ChREBP expression and triglyceride synthesis but was associated with improved hepatic insulin signaling. Metabolomic and RNA sequence analysis confirmed dichotomous effects of fructose and glucose supplementation on liver metabolism in spite of inducing similar hepatic lipid accumulation. Ketohexokinase, the first enzyme of fructose metabolism, was increased in fructose-fed mice and in obese humans with steatohepatitis. Knockdown of ketohexokinase in liver improved hepatic steatosis and glucose tolerance in fructose-supplemented mice. Thus, fructose is a component of dietary sugar that is distinctively associated with poor metabolic outcomes, whereas increased glucose intake may be protective.
Samir Softic, Manoj K. Gupta, Guo-Xiao Wang, Shiho Fujisaka, Brian T. O’Neill, Tata Nageswara Rao, Jennifer Willoughby, Carole Harbison, Kevin Fitzgerald, Olga Ilkayeva, Christopher B. Newgard, David E. Cohen, C. Ronald Kahn
Osteocalcin (OCN) is an osteoblast-derived hormone that increases energy expenditure, insulin sensitivity, insulin secretion, and glucose tolerance. The cDNA sequence of OCN predicts that, like many other peptide hormones, OCN is first synthesized as a prohormone (pro-OCN). The importance of pro-OCN maturation in regulating OCN and the identity of the endopeptidase responsible for pro-OCN cleavage in osteoblasts are still unknown. Here, we show that the proprotein convertase furin is responsible for pro-OCN maturation in vitro and in vivo. Using pharmacological and genetic experiments, we also determined that furin-mediated pro-OCN cleavage occurred independently of its γ-carboxylation, a posttranslational modification that is known to hamper OCN endocrine action. However, because pro-OCN is not efficiently decarboxylated and activated during bone resorption, inactivation of furin in osteoblasts in mice resulted in decreased circulating levels of undercarboxylated OCN, impaired glucose tolerance, and reduced energy expenditure. Furthermore, we show that Furin deletion in osteoblasts reduced appetite, a function not modulated by OCN, thus suggesting that osteoblasts may secrete additional hormones that regulate different aspects of energy metabolism. Accordingly, the metabolic defects of the mice lacking furin in osteoblasts became more apparent under pair-feeding conditions. These findings identify furin as an important regulator of bone endocrine function.
Omar El-Rifai, Jacqueline Chow, Julie Lacombe, Catherine Julien, Denis Faubert, Delia Susan-Resiga, Rachid Essalmani, John W.M. Creemers, Nabil G. Seidah, Mathieu Ferron
Skeletal muscle is a key organ in energy homeostasis owing to its high requirement for nutrients. Heterotrimeric G proteins converge signals from cell-surface receptors to potentiate or blunt responses against environmental changes. Here, we show that muscle-specific ablation of Gα13 in mice promotes reprogramming of myofibers to the oxidative type, with resultant increases in mitochondrial biogenesis and cellular respiration. Mechanistically, Gα13 and its downstream effector RhoA suppressed nuclear factor of activated T cells 1 (NFATc1), a chief regulator of myofiber conversion, by increasing Rho-associated kinase 2–mediated (Rock2-mediated) phosphorylation at Ser243. Ser243 phosphorylation of NFATc1 was reduced after exercise, but was higher in obese animals. Consequently, Gα13 ablation in muscles enhanced whole-body energy metabolism and increased insulin sensitivity, thus affording protection from diet-induced obesity and hepatic steatosis. Our results define Gα13 as a switch regulator of myofiber reprogramming, implying that modulations of Gα13 and its downstream effectors in skeletal muscle are a potential therapeutic approach to treating metabolic diseases.
Ja Hyun Koo, Tae Hyun Kim, Shi-Young Park, Min Sung Joo, Chang Yeob Han, Cheol Soo Choi, Sang Geon Kim
Bile acids function not only as detergents that facilitate lipid absorption but also as signaling molecules that activate the nuclear receptor farnesoid X receptor (FXR). FXR agonists are currently being evaluated as therapeutic agents for a number of hepatic diseases due to their lipid-lowering and antiinflammatory properties. FXR is also essential for maintaining bile acid homeostasis and prevents the accumulation of bile acids. Elevated bile acids activate FXR, which in turn switches off bile acid synthesis by reducing the mRNA levels of bile acid synthesis genes, including cholesterol 7α-hydroxylase (Cyp7a1). Here, we show that FXR activation triggers a rapid posttranscriptional mechanism to degrade Cyp7a1 mRNA. We identified the RNA-binding protein Zfp36l1 as an FXR target gene and determined that gain and loss of function of ZFP36L1 reciprocally regulate Cyp7a1 mRNA and bile acid levels in vivo. Moreover, we found that mice lacking hepatic ZFP36L1 were protected from diet-induced obesity and steatosis. The reduced adiposity and antisteatotic effects observed in ZFP36L1-deficient mice were accompanied by impaired lipid absorption that was consistent with altered bile acid metabolism. Thus, the ZFP36L1-dependent regulation of bile acid metabolism is an important metabolic contributor to obesity and hepatosteatosis.
Elizabeth J. Tarling, Bethan L. Clifford, Joan Cheng, Pauline Morand, Angela Cheng, Ellen Lester, Tamer Sallam, Martin Turner, Thomas Q. de Aguiar Vallim