Theses

New paper elucidates how brown adipose tissue adapts to nutrient stress

Adaptation to nutrient availability is crucial for survival. Upon nutritional stress, such as during prolonged fasting or cold exposure, organisms need to balance the feeding of tissues and the maintenance of body temperature. Mechanisms regulating the adaptation of brown adipose tissue (BAT), a key organ for non-shivering thermogenesis, to variations in nutritional state have been unknown.

In this new paper, we report that specific deletion of the activin receptor ALK7 in BAT resulted in fasting-induced hypothermia due to exaggerated catabolic activity in brown adipocytes. After overnight fasting, BAT lacking ALK7 showed increased expression of genes responsive to nutrient stress, including the upstream regulator KLF15, aminoacid catabolizing enzymes, notably proline dehydrogenase (POX), and adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL), as well as markedly reduced lipid droplet size. In agreement with this, ligand stimulation of ALK7 suppressed POX and KLF15 expression in both mouse and human brown adipocytes. Treatment of mutant mice with the glucocorticoid receptor antagonist RU486 restored KLF15 and POX expression levels in mutant BAT, suggesting that loss of BAT ALK7 results in excessive activation of glucocorticoid signaling upon fasting. These results reveal a novel signaling pathway downstream of ALK7 which regulates the adaptation of BAT to nutrient availability by limiting nutrient stress-induced overactivation of catabolic responses in brown adipocytes

The paper has been published in eLife.

Read the full paper HERE

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