The neuropeptide TLQP-21 opposes obesity via C3aR1-mediated enhancement of adrenergic-induced lipolysis.
ABSTRACT: Obesity is characterized by excessive fat mass and is associated with serious diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Targeting excess fat mass by sustained lipolysis has been a major challenge for anti-obesity therapies due to unwanted side effects. TLQP-21, a neuropeptide encoded by the pro-peptide VGF (non-acronymic), that binds the complement 3a receptor 1 (C3aR1) on the adipocyte membrane, is emerging as a novel modulator of adipocyte functions and a potential target for obesity-associated diseases. The molecular mechanism is still largely uncharacterized.We used a combination of pharmacological and genetic gain and loss of function approaches. 3T3-L1 and mature murine adipocytes were used for in vitro experiments. Chronic in vivo experiments were conducted on diet-induced obese wild type, ?1, ?2, ?3-adrenergic receptor (AR) deficient and C3aR1 knockout mice. Acute in vivo lipolysis experiments were conducted on Sprague Dawley rats.We demonstrated that TLQP-21 does not possess lipolytic properties per se. Rather, it enhances ?-AR activation-induced lipolysis by a mechanism requiring Ca2+ mobilization and ERK activation of Hormone Sensitive Lipase (HSL). TLQP-21 acutely potentiated isoproterenol-induced lipolysis in vivo. Finally, chronic peripheral TLQP-21 treatment decreases body weight and fat mass in diet induced obese mice by a mechanism involving ?-adrenergic and C3a receptor activation without associated adverse metabolic effects.In conclusion, our data identify an alternative pathway modulating lipolysis that could be targeted to diminish fat mass in obesity without the side effects typically observed when using potent pro-lipolytic molecules.
Project description:Structural and functional diversity of peptides and GPCR result from long evolutionary processes. Even small changes in sequence can alter receptor activation, affecting therapeutic efficacy. We conducted a structure-function relationship study on the neuropeptide TLQP-21, a promising target for obesity, and its complement 3a receptor (C3aR1). After having characterized the TLQP-21/C3aR1 lipolytic mechanism, a homology modeling and molecular dynamics simulation identified the TLQP-21 binding motif and C3aR1 binding site for the human (h) and mouse (m) molecules. mTLQP-21 showed enhanced binding affinity and potency for hC3aR1 compared with hTLQP-21. Consistently, mTLQP-21, but not hTLQP-21, potentiates lipolysis in human adipocytes. These findings led us to uncover five mutations in the C3aR1 binding pocket of the rodent Murinae subfamily that are causal for enhanced calculated affinity and measured potency of TLQP-21. Identifying functionally relevant peptide/receptor co-evolution mechanisms can facilitate the development of innovative pharmacotherapies for obesity and other diseases implicating GPCRs.
Project description:TLQP-21, a VGF-encoded peptide is emerging as a novel target for obesity-associated disorders. TLQP-21 is found in the sympathetic nerve terminals in the adipose tissue and targets the G-protein-coupled receptor complement-3a receptor1 (C3aR1). The mechanisms of TLQP-21-induced receptor activation remain unexplored. Here, we report that TLQP-21 is intrinsically disordered and undergoes a disorder-to-order transition, adopting an ?-helical conformation upon targeting cells expressing the C3aR1. We determined that the hot spots for TLQP-21 are located at the C terminus, with mutations in the last four amino acids progressively reducing the bioactivity and, a single site mutation (R21A) or C-terminal amidation abolishing its function completely. Additionally, the human TLQP-21 sequence carrying a S20A substitution activates the human C3aR1 receptor with lower potency compared to the rodent sequence. These studies reveal the mechanism of action of TLQP-21 and provide molecular templates for designing agonists and antagonists to modulate C3aR1 functions.
Project description:TLQP-21, a peptide encoded by the highly conserved vgf gene, is expressed in neuroendocrine cells and has been the most prominent VGF-derived peptide studied in relation to control of energy balance. The recent discovery that TLQP-21 is the natural agonist for the complement 3a receptor 1 (C3aR1) has revived interest in this peptide as a potential drug target for obesity. We have investigated its function in Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus), a rodent that displays natural seasonal changes in body weight and adiposity as an adaptation to survive winter. We have previously shown that intracerebroventricular administration of TLQP-21 reduced food intake and body weight in hamsters in their long-day fat state. The aim of our current study was to determine the systemic actions of TLQP-21 on food intake, energy expenditure and body weight, and to establish whether adiposity affected these responses. Peripheral infusion of TLQP-21 (1mg/kg/day for 7 days) in lean hamsters exposed to short photoperiods (SP) reduced cumulative food intake in the home cage (p<0.05), and intake when measured in metabolic cages (P<0.01). Energy expenditure was significantly increased (p<0.001) by TLQP-21 infusion, this was associated with a significant increase in uncoupling protein 1 mRNA in brown adipose tissue (BAT) (p<0.05), and body weight was significantly reduced (p<0.05). These effects of systemic TLQP-21 treatment were not observed in hamsters exposed to long photoperiod (LP) with a fat phenotype. C3aR1 mRNA and protein were abundantly expressed in the hypothalamus, brown and white adipose tissue in hamsters, but changes in expression cannot explain the differential response to TLQP-21 in lean and fat hamsters.
Project description:Obesity is associated with blunted ?-adrenoreceptor (?-AR)-mediated lipolysis and lipid oxidation in adipose tissue, but the mechanisms linking nutrient overload to catecholamine resistance are poorly understood. We report that targeted disruption of TGF-? superfamily receptor ALK7 alleviates diet-induced catecholamine resistance in adipose tissue, thereby reducing obesity in mice. Global and fat-specific Alk7 knock-out enhanced adipose ?-AR expression, ?-adrenergic signaling, mitochondrial biogenesis, lipid oxidation, and lipolysis under a high fat diet, leading to elevated energy expenditure, decreased fat mass, and resistance to diet-induced obesity. Conversely, activation of ALK7 reduced ?-AR-mediated signaling and lipolysis cell-autonomously in both mouse and human adipocytes. Acute inhibition of ALK7 in adult mice by a chemical-genetic approach reduced diet-induced weight gain, fat accumulation, and adipocyte size, and enhanced adipocyte lipolysis and ?-adrenergic signaling. We propose that ALK7 signaling contributes to diet-induced catecholamine resistance in adipose tissue, and suggest that ALK7 inhibitors may have therapeutic value in human obesity.
Project description:Visceral and s.c. fat exhibit different intrinsic properties, including rates of lipolysis, and are associated with differential risk for the development of type 2 diabetes. These effects are in part related to cell autonomous differences in gene expression. In the present study, we show that expression of Shox2 (Short stature homeobox 2) is higher in s.c. than visceral fat in both rodents and humans and that levels are further increased in humans with visceral obesity. Fat-specific disruption of Shox2 in male mice results in protection from high fat diet-induced obesity, with a preferential loss of s.c. fat. The reduced adipocyte size is secondary to a twofold increase in the expression of ?3 adrenergic receptor (Adrb3) at both the mRNA and protein level and a parallel increase in lipolytic rate. These effects are mimicked by knockdown of Shox2 in C3H10T1/2 cells. Conversely, overexpression of Shox2 leads to a repression of Adrb3 expression and decrease lipolytic rate. Shox2 does not affect differentiation but directly interacts with CCAAT/enhancer binding protein alpha and attenuates its transcriptional activity of the Adrb3 promoter. Thus, Shox2 can regulate the expression of Adrb3 and control the rate of lipolysis and, in this way, exerts control of the phenotypic differences between visceral and s.c. adipocytes.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Multiomic studies by several groups in the NIH Accelerating Medicines Partnership for Alzheimer's Disease (AMP-AD) identified VGF as a major driver of Alzheimer's disease (AD), also finding that reduced VGF levels correlate with mean amyloid plaque density, Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) and Braak scores. VGF-derived peptide TLQP-21 activates the complement C3a receptor-1 (C3aR1), predominantly expressed in the brain on microglia. However, it is unclear how mouse or human TLQP-21, which are not identical, modulate microglial function and/or AD progression. METHODS:We performed phagocytic/migration assays and RNA sequencing on BV2 microglial cells and primary microglia isolated from wild-type or C3aR1-null mice following treatment with TLQP-21 or C3a super agonist (C3aSA). Effects of intracerebroventricular TLQP-21 delivery were evaluated in 5xFAD mice, a mouse amyloidosis model of AD. Finally, the human HMC3 microglial cell line was treated with human TLQP-21 to determine whether specific peptide functions are conserved from mouse to human. RESULTS:We demonstrate that TLQP-21 increases motility and phagocytic capacity in murine BV2 microglial cells, and in primary wild-type but not in C3aR1-null murine microglia, which under basal conditions have impaired phagocytic function compared to wild-type. RNA sequencing of primary microglia revealed overlapping transcriptomic changes induced by treatment with TLQP-21 or C3a super agonist (C3aSA). There were no transcriptomic changes in C3aR1-null or wild-type microglia exposed to the mutant peptide TLQP-R21A, which does not activate C3aR1. Most of the C3aSA- and TLQP-21-induced differentially expressed genes were linked to cell migration and proliferation. Intracerebroventricular TLQP-21 administration for 28?days via implanted osmotic pump resulted in a reduction of amyloid plaques and associated dystrophic neurites and restored expression of subsets of Alzheimer-associated microglial genes. Finally, we found that human TLQP-21 activates human microglia in a fashion similar to activation of murine microglia by mouse TLQP-21. CONCLUSIONS:These data provide molecular and functional evidence suggesting that mouse and human TLQP-21 modulate microglial function, with potential implications for the progression of AD-related neuropathology.
Project description:The critical role of adipose tissue in energy and nutrient homeostasis is influenced by many external factors, including overnutrition, inflammation, and exogenous hormones. Prior studies have suggested that glucocorticoids (GCs) in particular are major drivers of physiological and pathophysiological changes in adipocytes. In order to determine whether these effects directly require the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) within adipocytes, we generated adipocyte-specific GR knockout (AGRKO) mice.AGRKO and control mice were fed chow or high fat diet (HFD) for 14 weeks. Alternatively, AGRKO and control mice were injected with dexamethasone for two months. Glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, adiposity, lipolysis, thermogenesis, and insulin signaling were assessed.We find that obesity, insulin resistance, and dysglycemia associated with high fat feeding do not require an intact GR in the adipocyte. However, exogenous dexamethasone (Dex) promotes metabolic dysfunction in mice, and this effect is reduced in mice lacking GR in adipocytes. The ability of Dex to promote "whitening" of brown fat is also reduced in these animals. We also show that GR is required for ?-adrenergic and cold stimulation-mediated lipolysis via expression of the key lipolytic enzyme ATGL.Our data suggest that the GR plays a role in normal adipose physiology via effects on lipolysis and mediates at least some of the adverse effects of exogenous steroids on metabolic function. The data also indicate that intra-adipocyte GR plays less of a role than previously believed in the local and systemic pathology associated with overnutrition.
Project description:AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Obesity is characterised by increased triacylglycerol storage in adipose tissue. There is in vitro evidence for a blunted beta-adrenergically mediated lipolytic response in abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) of obese individuals and evidence for this at the whole-body level in vivo. We hypothesised that the beta-adrenergically mediated effect on lipolysis in abdominal SAT is also impaired in vivo in obese humans. METHODS: We investigated whole-body and abdominal SAT glycerol metabolism in vivo during 3 h and 6 h [2H5]glycerol infusions. Arterio-venous concentration differences were measured in 13 lean and ten obese men after an overnight fast and during intravenous infusion of the non-selective beta-adrenergic agonist isoprenaline [20 ng (kg fat free mass)(-1) min(-1)]. RESULTS: Lean and obese participants showed comparable fasting glycerol uptake by SAT (9.7+/-3.4 vs 9.3+/-2.5% of total release, p=0.92). Furthermore, obese participants showed an increased whole-body beta-adrenergically mediated lipolytic response versus lean participants. However, their fasting lipolysis was blunted [glycerol rate of appearance: 7.3+/-0.6 vs 13.1+/-0.9 micromol (kg fat mass)(-1) min(-1), p<0.01], as was the beta-adrenergically mediated lipolytic response per unit SAT [Delta total glycerol release: 140+/-71 vs 394+/-112 nmol (100 g tissue)(-1) min(-1), p<0.05] compared with lean participants. Net triacylglycerol flux tended to increase in obese compared with lean participants during beta-adrenergic stimulation [Delta net triacylglycerol flux: 75+/-32 vs 16+/-11 nmol (100 g tissue)(-1) min(-1), p=0.06]. CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: We demonstrated in vivo that beta-adrenergically mediated lipolytic response is impaired systematically and in abdominal SAT of obese versus lean men. This may be important in the development or maintenance of increased triacylglycerol stores and obesity.
Project description:TLQP-21, a peptide derived from VGF (non-acronymic) by proteolytic processing, has been shown to modulate energy metabolism, differentiation, and cellular response to stress. Although extensively investigated, the receptor for this endogenous peptide has not previously been described. This study describes the use of a series of studies that show G protein-coupled receptor-mediated biological activity of TLQP-21 signaling in CHO-K1 cells. Unbiased genome-wide sequencing of the transcriptome from responsive CHO-K1 cells identified a prioritized list of possible G protein-coupled receptors bringing about this activity. Further experiments using a series of defined receptor antagonists and siRNAs led to the identification of complement C3a receptor-1 (C3AR1) as a target for TLQP-21 in rodents. We have not been able to demonstrate so far that this finding is translatable to the human receptor. Our results are in line with a large number of physiological observations in rodent models of food intake and metabolic control, where TLQP-21 shows activity. In addition, the sensitivity of TLQP-21 signaling to pertussis toxin is consistent with the known signaling pathway of C3AR1. The binding of TLQP-21 to C3AR1 not only has effects on signaling but also modulates cellular functions, as TLQP-21 was shown to have a role in directing migration of mouse RAW264.7 cells.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Typically, obesity results from an inappropriate balance between energy uptake from nutrient consumption and burning of calories, which leads to a pathological increase in fat mass. Obesity is a major cause of insulin resistance and diabetes. Inhibitory G proteins (G?i) form a subfamily that is involved in the regulation of adipose tissue function. Among the three G?i members, i.e. G?i1, G?i2, G?i3, the G?i2, protein is predominantly expressed in adipose tissue. However, the functions of the G?i2 isoform in adipose tissue and its impact on the development of obesity are poorly understood. METHODS:By using AdipoqCreERT2 mice, we generated adipocyte-specific Gnai2-deficient mice to study G?i2 function, specifically in white and brown adipocytes. These mice were fed either a control diet (CD) or a high fat diet (HFD). Mice were examined for obesity development, insulin resistance and glucose intolerance. We examined adipocyte morphology and the development of inflammation in the white adipose tissue. Finally, intracellular cAMP levels as an indicator of G?i signaling and glycerol release as an indicator of lipolysis rates were measured to verify the impact of G?i2 on the signaling pathway in brown and white adipocytes. RESULTS:An adipocyte-specific deficiency of G?i2 significantly reduced diet-induced obesity, leading to decreased fat masses, smaller adipocytes and decreased inflammation in the white adipose tissue relative to littermate controls. Concurrently, oxygen consumption of brown adipocytes and in vivo measured energy expenditure were significantly enhanced. In addition, glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity of HFD-fed adipocyte-specific Gnai2-deficient mice were improved compared to the respective controls. In the absence of G?i2, adrenergic stimulation of intracellular adipocyte cAMP levels was increased, which correlated with increased lipolysis and energy expenditure. CONCLUSION:We conclude that adipocyte G?i2 is a major regulator of adipocyte lipid content in diet-induced obesity by inhibiting adipocyte lipolysis in a cAMP-dependent manner resulting in increased energy expenditure.