Spatiotemporal dynamics of triglyceride storage in unilocular adipocytes.
ABSTRACT: The spatiotemporal dynamics of triglyceride (TG) storage in unilocular adipocytes are not well understood. Here we applied ex vivo technology to study trafficking and metabolism of fluorescent fatty acids in adipose tissue explants. Live imaging revealed multiple cytoplasmic nodules surrounding the large central lipid droplet (cLD) of unilocular adipocytes. Each cytoplasmic nodule harbors a series of closely associated cellular organelles, including micro-lipid droplets (mLDs), mitochondria, and the endoplasmic reticulum. Exogenously added free fatty acids are rapidly adsorbed by mLDs and concurrently get esterified to TG. This process is greatly accelerated by insulin. mLDs transfer their content to the cLD, serving as intermediates that mediate packaging of newly synthesized TG in the large interior of a unilocular adipocyte. This study reveals novel cell biological features that may contribute to the mechanism of adipocyte hypertrophy.
Project description:Mature white adipocytes contain a characteristic unilocular lipid droplet. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying unilocular lipid droplet formation are poorly understood. We previously showed that Fsp27, an adipocyte-specific lipid droplet-associated protein, promotes lipid droplet growth by initiating lipid exchange and transfer. Here, we identify Perilipin1 (Plin1), another adipocyte-specific lipid droplet-associated protein, as an Fsp27 activator. Plin1 interacts with the CIDE-N domain of Fsp27 and markedly increases Fsp27-mediated lipid exchange, lipid transfer and lipid droplet growth. Functional cooperation between Plin1 and Fsp27 is required for efficient lipid droplet growth in adipocytes, as depletion of either protein impairs lipid droplet growth. The CIDE-N domain of Fsp27 forms homodimers and disruption of CIDE-N homodimerization abolishes Fsp27-mediated lipid exchange and transfer. Interestingly, Plin1 can restore the activity of CIDE-N homodimerization-defective mutants of Fsp27. We thus uncover a novel mechanism underlying lipid droplet growth and unilocular lipid droplet formation that involves the cooperative action of Fsp27 and Plin1 in adipocytes.
Project description:Despite the lipolysis-lipogenesis cycle being a fundamental process in adipocyte biology, very little is known about the morphological changes that occur during this process. The remodeling of lipid droplets to form micro lipid droplets (mLDs) is a striking feature of lipolysis in adipocytes, but once lipolysis ceases, the cell must regain its basal morphology. We characterized mLD formation in cultured adipocytes, and in primary adipocytes isolated from mouse epididymal fat pads, in response to acute activation of lipolysis. Using real-time quantitative imaging and electron tomography, we show that formation of mLDs in cultured adipocytes occurs throughout the cell to increase total LD surface area by ~30% but does not involve detectable fission from large LDs. Peripheral mLDs are monolayered structures with a neutral lipid core and are sites of active lipolysis. Electron tomography reveals preferential association of mLDs with the endoplasmic reticulum. Treatment with insulin and fatty acids results in the reformation of macroLDs and return to the basal state. Insulin-dependent reformation of large LDs involves two distinct processes: microtubule-dependent homotypic fusion of mLDs and expansion of individual mLDs. We identify a physiologically important role for LD fusion that is involved in a reversible lipolytic cycle in adipocytes.
Project description:In obesity, adipocyte hypertrophy and proinflammatory responses are closely associated with the development of insulin resistance in adipose tissue. However, it is largely unknown whether adipocyte hypertrophy per se might be sufficient to provoke insulin resistance in obese adipose tissue. Here, we demonstrate that lipid-overloaded hypertrophic adipocytes are insulin resistant independent of adipocyte inflammation. Treatment with saturated or monounsaturated fatty acids resulted in adipocyte hypertrophy, but proinflammatory responses were observed only in adipocytes treated with saturated fatty acids. Regardless of adipocyte inflammation, hypertrophic adipocytes with large and unilocular lipid droplets exhibited impaired insulin-dependent glucose uptake, associated with defects in GLUT4 trafficking to the plasma membrane. Moreover, Toll-like receptor 4 mutant mice (C3H/HeJ) with high-fat-diet-induced obesity were not protected against insulin resistance, although they were resistant to adipose tissue inflammation. Together, our in vitro and in vivo data suggest that adipocyte hypertrophy alone may be crucial in causing insulin resistance in obesity.
Project description:White adipose tissue (WAT) functions as an energy reservoir where excess circulating fatty acids are transported to WAT, converted to triglycerides, and stored as unilocular lipid droplets. Fat-specific protein 27 (FSP27, CIDEC in humans) is a lipid-coating protein highly expressed in mature white adipocytes that contributes to unilocular lipid droplet formation. However, the influence of FSP27 in adipose tissue on whole-body energy homeostasis remains unclear. Mice with adipocyte-specific disruption of the Fsp27 gene (Fsp27(?Ad)) were generated using an aP2-Cre transgene with the Cre/LoxP system. Upon high-fat diet feeding, Fsp27(?Ad) mice were resistant to weight gain. In the small WAT of these mice, small adipocytes containing multilocular lipid droplets were dispersed. The expression levels of the genes associated with mitochondrial abundance and brown adipocyte identity were increased, and basal lipolytic activities were significantly augmented in adipocytes isolated from Fsp27(?Ad) mice compared with the Fsp27(F/F) counterparts. The impaired fat-storing function in Fsp27(?Ad) adipocytes and the resultant lipid overflow from WAT led to marked hepatosteatosis, dyslipidemia, and systemic insulin resistance in high-fat diet-treated Fsp27(?Ad) mice. These results demonstrate a critical role for FSP27 in the storage of excess fat in WAT with minimizing ectopic fat accumulation that causes insulin-resistant diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This mouse model may be useful for understanding the significance of fat-storing properties of white adipocytes and the role of local FSP27 in whole-body metabolism and estimating the pathogenesis of human partial lipodystrophy caused by CIDEC mutations.
Project description:White adipocytes are unique in that they contain large unilocular lipid droplets that occupy most of the cytoplasm. To identify genes involved in the maintenance of mature adipocytes, we expressed dominant-negative PPARgamma in 3T3-L1 cells and performed a microarray screen. The fat-specific protein of 27 kDa (FSP27) was strongly downregulated in this context. FSP27 expression correlated with induction of differentiation in cultured preadipocytes, and the protein localized to lipid droplets in murine white adipocytes in vivo. Ablation of FSP27 in mice resulted in the formation of multilocular lipid droplets in these cells. Furthermore, FSP27-deficient mice were protected from diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance and displayed an increased metabolic rate due to increased mitochondrial biogenesis in white adipose tissue (WAT). Depletion of FSP27 by siRNA in murine cultured white adipocytes resulted in the formation of numerous small lipid droplets, increased lipolysis, and decreased triacylglycerol storage, while expression of FSP27 in COS cells promoted the formation of large lipid droplets. Our results suggest that FSP27 contributes to efficient energy storage in WAT by promoting the formation of unilocular lipid droplets, thereby restricting lipolysis. In addition, we found that the nature of lipid accumulation in WAT appears to be associated with maintenance of energy balance and insulin sensitivity.
Project description:C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP) is expressed in diverse tissues, including adipose and endothelium, and exerts its effects by binding to and activating its receptor, guanylyl cyclase B. Natriuretic peptides regulate intracellular cGMP and phosphorylated vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP). We recently revealed that overexpression of CNP in endothelial cells protects against high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity in mice. Given that endothelial CNP affects adipose tissue during obesity, CNP in adipocytes might directly regulate adipocyte function during obesity. Therefore, to elucidate the effect of CNP in adipocytes, we assessed 3T3-L1 adipocytes and transgenic (Tg) mice that overexpressed CNP specifically in adipocytes (A-CNP). We found that CNP activates the cGMP-VASP pathway in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Compared with Wt mice, A-CNP Tg mice showed decreases in fat weight and adipocyte hypertrophy and increases in fatty acid ?-oxidation, lipolysis-related gene expression, and energy expenditure during HFD-induced obesity. These effects led to decreased levels of the macrophage marker F4/80 in the mesenteric fat pad and reduced inflammation. Furthermore, A-CNP Tg mice showed improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, which were associated with enhanced insulin-stimulated Akt phosphorylation. Our results suggest that CNP overexpression in adipocytes protects against adipocyte hypertrophy, excess lipid metabolism, inflammation, and decreased insulin sensitivity during HFD-induced obesity.
Project description:Brown adipocytes store metabolic energy as triglycerides (TGs) in lipid droplets (LDs). Fatty acids released from brown adipocyte LDs by lipolysis are thought to activate and fuel UCP1-mediated thermogenesis. Here, we test this hypothesis by preventing fatty acid storage in murine brown adipocytes through brown adipose tissue (BAT)-specific deletions of the TG synthesis enzymes DGAT1 and DGAT2 (BA-DGAT KO). Despite the absence of TGs in brown adipocytes, BAT is functional, and BA-DGAT-KO mice maintain euthermia during acute or chronic cold exposure. As apparent adaptations to the lack of TG, brown adipocytes of BA-DGAT-KO mice appear to use circulating glucose and fatty acids, and stored glycogen, to fuel thermogenesis. Moreover, BA-DGAT-KO mice are resistant to diet-induced glucose intolerance, likely because of increased glucose disposal by BAT. We conclude that TGs in BAT are dispensable for its contribution to cold-induced thermogenesis, at least when other fuel sources are available.
Project description:Synthesis, storage, and turnover of triacylglycerols (TAGs) in adipocytes are critical cellular processes to maintain lipid and energy homeostasis in mammals. TAGs are stored in metabolically highly dynamic lipid droplets (LDs), which are believed to undergo fragmentation and fusion under lipolytic and lipogenic conditions, respectively. Time lapse fluorescence microscopy showed that stimulation of lipolysis in 3T3-L1 adipocytes causes progressive shrinkage and almost complete degradation of all cellular LDs but without any detectable fragmentation into micro-LDs (mLDs). However, mLDs were rapidly formed after induction of lipolysis in the absence of BSA in the culture medium that acts as a fatty acid scavenger. Moreover, mLD formation was blocked by the acyl-CoA synthetase inhibitor triacsin C, implicating that mLDs are synthesized de novo in response to cellular fatty acid overload. Using label-free coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering microscopy, we demonstrate that LDs grow by transfer of lipids from one organelle to another. Notably, this lipid transfer between closely associated LDs is not a rapid and spontaneous process but rather occurs over several h and does not appear to require physical interaction over large LD surface areas. These data indicate that LD growth is a highly regulated process leading to the heterogeneous LD size distribution within and between individual cells. Our findings suggest that lipolysis and lipogenesis occur in parallel in a cell to prevent cellular fatty acid overflow. Furthermore, we propose that formation of large LDs requires a yet uncharacterized protein machinery mediating LD interaction and lipid transfer.
Project description:Obesity is linked to adipose tissue hypertrophy (increased adipocyte cell size) and hyperplasia (increased cell number). Comparative analyses of gene datasets allowed us to identify 1426 genes which may represent common adipose phenotype in humans and mice. Among them we identified several adipocyte-specific genes dysregulated in obese adipose tissue, involved in either fatty acid storage (acyl CoA synthase ACSL1, hormone-sensitive lipase LIPE, aquaporin 7 AQP7, perilipin PLIN) or cell adhesion (fibronectin FN1, collagens COL1A1, COL1A3, metalloprotein MMP9, or both (scavenger receptor FAT/CD36). Using real-time analysis of cell surface occupancy on xCELLigence system we developed a new method to study lipid uptake and differentiation of mouse 3T3L1 fibroblasts and human adipose stem cells. Both processes are regulated by insulin and fatty acids such as oleic acid. We showed that fatty acid addition to culture media increased the differentiation rate and was required for full differentiation into unilocular adipocytes. Significant activation of lipogenesis, i.e. lipid accumulation, by either insulin or oleic acid was monitored in times ranging from 1 to 24 h, depending on differentiation state, whereas significant effects on adipogenesis, i.e., surperimposed lipid accumulation and gene transcriptional regulations were measured after 3 to 4 d. Combination of selected times for analysis of lipid contents, cell counts, size fractionations, and gene transcriptional regulations showed that FAT/CD36 specific inhibitor AP5258 significantly increased cell survival of oleic acid-treated mouse and human adipocytes, and partially restored the transcriptional response to oleic acid in the presence of insulin through JNK pathway. Taken together, these data open new perspectives to study the molecular mechanisms commonly dysregulated in mouse and human obesity at the level of lipogenesis linked to hypertrophy and adipogenesis linked to hyperplasia.
Project description:There is a critical need for monitoring physiologically relevant, sustainable, human adipose tissues in vitro to gain new insights into metabolic diseases. To support long-term culture, a 3D silk scaffold assisted culture system is developed that maintains mature unilocular adipocytes ex vivo in coculture with preadipocytes, endothelial cells, and smooth muscle cells obtained from small volumes of liquefied adipose samples. Without the silk scaffold, adipose tissue explants cannot be sustained in long-term culture (3 months) due to their fragility. Adjustments to media components are used to tune lipid metabolism and proliferation, in addition to responsiveness to an inflammatory stimulus. Interestingly, patient specific responses to TNF? stimulation are observed, providing a proof-of-concept translational technique for patient specific disease modeling in the future. In summary, this novel 3D scaffold assisted approach is required for establishing physiologically relevant, sustainable, human adipose tissue systems from small volumes of lipoaspirate, making this methodology of great value to studies of metabolism, adipokine-driven diseases, and other diseases where the roles of adipocytes are only now becoming uncovered.