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Prohibitin Inactivation in Adipocytes Results in Reduced Lipid Metabolism and Adaptive Thermogenesis Impairment

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posted on 13.07.2021, 14:07 by Zhanguo Gao, Alexes C. Daquinag, Cale Fussell, Amel Djehal, Laurent Désaubry, Mikhail G. Kolonin
Prohibitin-1 (PHB) is a multifunctional protein previously reported to be important for adipocyte function. PHB is expressed on the surface of adipose cells, where it interacts with a long chain fatty acid (LCFA) transporter. Here, we show that mice lacking PHB in adipocytes (PHB Ad-KO) have a defect in fat tissue accumulation despite having larger lipid droplets in adipocytes due to reduced lipolysis. Although PHB Ad-KO mice do not display glucose intolerance, they are insulin resistant. We show that PHB Ad-KO mice are lipid intolerant due to a decreased capacity of adipocytes for LCFA uptake. Instead, PHB Ad-KO mice have increased expression of glucose transporter GLUT1 in various tissues and use glucose as a preferred energy source. We demonstrate that PHB Ad-KO mice have defective brown AT, are cold-intolerant, and display a reduced basal energy expenditure. Systemic repercussions of PHB inactivation in adipocytes were observed in both males and females. Consistent with lower cellular mitochondrial content and reduced UCP1 protein expression, brown adipocytes lacking PHB display decreased proton leak and switch from aerobic metabolism to glycolysis. Treatment of differentiating brown adipocytes with small molecules targeting PHB suppressed mitochondrial respiration and uncoupling. Our results demonstrate that PHB in adipocytes is essential for normal fatty acid uptake, oxidative metabolism, and adaptive thermogenesis. We conclude that PHB inhibition could be investigated as an approach to altering energy substrate utilization.


This work was supported by NIH grant 2R01DK088131 to MGK