In vitro exploration of ACAT contributions to lipid droplet formation during adipogenesis.
ABSTRACT: As adipose tissue is the major cholesterol storage organ and most of the intracellular cholesterol is distributed to lipid droplets (LDs), cholesterol homeostasis may have a role in the regulation of adipocyte size and function. ACATs catalyze the formation of cholesteryl ester (CE) from free cholesterol to modulate the cholesterol balance. Despite the well-documented role of ACATs in hypercholesterolemia, their role in LD development during adipogenesis remains elusive. Here, we identify ACATs as regulators of de novo lipogenesis and LD formation in murine 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Pharmacological inhibition of ACAT activity suppressed intracellular cholesterol and CE levels, and reduced expression of genes involved in cholesterol uptake and efflux. ACAT inhibition resulted in decreased de novo lipogenesis, as demonstrated by reduced maturation of SREBP1 and SREBP1-downstream lipogenic gene expression. Consistent with this observation, knockdown of either ACAT isoform reduced total adipocyte lipid content by approximately 40%. These results demonstrate that ACATs are required for storage ability of lipids and cholesterol in adipocytes.
Project description:Cholesterol plays essential structural and signaling roles in mammalian cells, but too much cholesterol can cause cytotoxicity. Acyl-CoA:cholesterol acyltransferases 1 and 2 (ACAT1/2) convert cholesterol into its storage form, cholesteryl esters, regulating a key step in cellular cholesterol homeostasis. Adipose tissue can store >50% of whole-body cholesterol. Interestingly, however, almost no ACAT activity is present in adipose tissue, and most adipose cholesterol is stored in its free form. We therefore hypothesized that increased cholesterol esterification may have detrimental effects on adipose tissue function. Here, using several approaches, including protein overexpression, quantitative RT-PCR, immunofluorescence, and various biochemical assays, we found that ACAT1 expression is significantly increased in the adipose tissue of the ob/ob mice. We further demonstrated that ACAT1/2 overexpression partially inhibited the differentiation of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes. In mature adipocytes, increased ACAT activity reduced the size of lipid droplets (LDs) and inhibited lipolysis and insulin signaling. Paradoxically, the amount of free cholesterol increased on the surface of LDs in ACAT1/2-overexpressing adipocytes, accompanied by increased LD localization of caveolin-1. Moreover, cholesterol depletion in adipocytes by treating the cells with cholesterol-deficient media or ?-cyclodextrins induced changes in cholesterol distribution that were similar to those caused by ACAT1/2 overexpression. Our results suggest that ACAT1/2 overexpression increases the level of free cholesterol on the LD surface, thereby impeding adipocyte function. These findings provide detailed insights into the role of free cholesterol in LD and adipocyte function and suggest that ACAT inhibitors have potential utility for managing disorders associated with extreme obesity.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Adipose tissue cholesterol increases with adipocyte triglyceride content and size during development of obesity. However, how adipocyte cholesterol affects adipocyte function is poorly understood. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of the cellular cholesterol exporter, Abca1 (ATP-binding cassette transporter A1), on adipose tissue function during diet-induced obesity. APPROACH AND RESULTS:Adiponectin Cre recombinase transgenic mice were crossed with Abca1flox/flox mice to generate ASKO (adipocyte-specific Abca1 knockout) mice. Control and ASKO mice were then fed a high-fat, high-cholesterol (45% calories as fat and 0.2% cholesterol) diet for 16 weeks. Compared with control mice, ASKO mice had a 2-fold increase in adipocyte plasma membrane cholesterol content and significantly lower body weight, epididymal fat pad weight, and adipocyte size. ASKO versus control adipose tissue had decreased PPAR? (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor ?) and CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein expression, nuclear SREBP1 (sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1) protein, lipogenesis, and triglyceride accretion but similar Akt activation after acute insulin stimulation. Acute siRNA-mediated Abca1 silencing during 3T3L1 adipocyte differentiation reduced adipocyte Abca1 and PPAR? protein expression and triglyceride content. Systemic stimulated triglyceride lipolysis and glucose homeostasis were similar between control and ASKO mice. CONCLUSIONS:Adipocyte Abca1 is a key regulator of adipocyte lipogenesis and lipid accretion, likely because of increased adipose tissue membrane cholesterol, resulting in decreased activation of lipogenic transcription factors PPAR? and SREBP1.
Project description:The synthesis of lipid and sterol species through de novo lipogenesis (DNL) is regulated by two functionally overlapping but distinct transcription factors: the sterol regulatory element-binding proteins (SREBPs) and carbohydrate response element binding protein (ChREBP). ChREBP is considered to be the dominant regulator of DNL in adipose tissue (AT); however, the SREBPs are highly expressed and robustly regulated in adipocytes, suggesting that the model of AT DNL may be incomplete. Here we describe a new mouse model of inducible, adipocyte-specific overexpression of the insulin-induced gene 1 (Insig1), a negative regulator of SREBP transcriptional activity. Contrary to convention, Insig1 overexpression did block AT lipogenic gene expression. However, this was immediately met with a compensatory mechanism triggered by redox activation of mTORC1 to restore SREBP1 DNL gene expression. Thus, we demonstrate that SREBP1 activity sustains adipocyte lipogenesis, a conclusion that has been elusive due to the constitutive nature of current mouse models.
Project description:Acyl-CoA:cholesterol acyltransferase (ACAT) converts cholesterol to cholesteryl esters in plaque foam cells. Complete deficiency of macrophage ACAT has been shown to increase atherosclerosis in hypercholesterolemic mice because of cytotoxicity from free cholesterol accumulation, whereas we previously showed that partial ACAT inhibition by Fujirebio compound F1394 decreased early atherosclerosis development. In this report, we tested F1394 effects on preestablished, advanced lesions of apolipoprotein-E-deficient mice.Apolipoprotein-E-deficient mice on Western diet for 14 weeks developed advanced plaques, and were either euthanized (Baseline), or continued on Western diet with or without F1394 and euthanized after 14 more weeks. F1394 was not associated with systemic toxicity. Compared with the baseline group, lesion size progressed in both groups; however, F1394 significantly retarded plaque progression and reduced plaque macrophage, free and esterified cholesterol, and tissue factor contents compared with the untreated group. Apoptosis of plaque cells was not increased, consistent with the decrease in lesional free cholesterol. There was no increase in plaque necrosis and unimpaired efferocytosis (phagocytic clearance of apoptotic cells). The effects of F1394 were independent of changes in plasma cholesterol levels.Partial ACAT inhibition by F1394 lowered plaque cholesterol content and had other antiatherogenic effects in advanced lesions in apolipoprotein-E-deficient mice without overt systemic or plaque toxicity, suggesting the continued potential of ACAT inhibition for the clinical treatment of atherosclerosis, in spite of recent trial data.
Project description:Lipid bodies are eukaryotic structures for temporary storage of neutral lipids such as acylglycerols and steryl esters. Fatty acyl-CoA and cholesterol are two substrates for cholesteryl ester (CE) synthesis via the ACAT reaction. The intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii is incapable of sterol synthesis and unremittingly scavenges cholesterol from mammalian host cells. We previously demonstrated that the parasite expresses a cholesteryl ester-synthesizing enzyme, TgACAT1. In this article, we identified and characterized a second ACAT-like enzyme, TgACAT2, which shares 56% identity with TgACAT1. Both enzymes are endoplasmic reticulum-associated and contribute to CE formation for storage in lipid bodies. While TgACAT1 preferentially utilizes palmitoyl-CoA, TgACAT2 has broader fatty acid specificity and produces more CE. Genetic ablation of each individual ACAT results in parasite growth impairment whereas dual ablation of ACAT1 and ACAT2 is not tolerated by Toxoplasma. ?ACAT1 and ?ACAT2 parasites have reduced CE levels, fewer lipid bodies, and accumulate free cholesterol, which causes injurious membrane effects. Mutant parasites are particularly vulnerable to ACAT inhibitors. This study underlines the important physiological role of ACAT enzymes to store cholesterol in a sterol-auxotrophic organism such as Toxoplasma, and furthermore opens up possibilities of exploiting TgACAT as targets for the development of antitoxoplasmosis drugs.
Project description:PKR-like endoplasmic reticulum (ER) kinase (PERK) is an ER-associated stress sensor protein which phosphorylates eukaryotic initiation factor 2? (eIF2?) to induce translation attenuation in response to ER stress. PERK is also a regulator of lipogenesis during adipocyte differentiation through activation of the cleavage of sterol regulatory element binding protein 1 (SREBP1), resulting in the upregulation of lipogenic enzymes. Our recent studies have shown that human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection in human fibroblasts (HF) induces adipocyte-like lipogenesis through the activation of SREBP1. Here, we report that PERK expression is highly increased in HCMV-infected cells and is necessary for HCMV growth. Depletion of PERK, using short hairpin RNA (shRNA), resulted in attenuation of HCMV growth, inhibition of lipid synthesis and reduction of lipogenic gene expression. Examination of the cleavage of SREBP proteins showed PERK depletion inhibited the cleavage of SREBP1, but not SREBP2, in HCMV-infected cells, suggesting different cleavage regulatory mechanisms for SREBP1 and 2. Further studies showed that the depletion of SREBP1, but not SREBP2, reduced lipid synthesis in HCMV infection, suggesting that activation of SREBP1 is sufficient to induce lipogenesis in HCMV infection. The reduction of lipid synthesis by PERK depletion can be partially restored by expressing a Flag-tagged nuclear form of SREBP1a. Our studies also suggest that the induction of PERK in HCMV-infected cells stimulates SREBP1 cleavage by reducing levels of Insig1 (Insulin inducible gene 1) protein; this occurs independent of the phosphorylation of eIF2?. Introduction of an exogenous Insig1-Myc into HCMV infected cells significantly reduced HCMV growth and lipid synthesis. Our data demonstrate that the induction of PERK during HCMV infection is necessary for full activation of lipogenesis; this effect appears to be mediated by limiting the levels of Insig1 thus freeing SREBP1-SCAP complexes for SREBP1 processing.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Acyl-CoA:cholesterol acyltransferase (ACAT) is a key enzyme in cellular cholesterol homeostasis and in atherosclerosis. The cellular cholesterol efflux correlated with serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) concentrations has shown to be impaired in hyperlipidemic mice. The present study was carried out to clarify the association of ACAT-1 rs1044925 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and serum lipid levels in the hyperlipidemic subjects. METHODS: A total of 821 unrelated subjects (hyperlipidemia, 476; normolipidemia, 345) aged 15-80 were included in the study. Genotyping of the ACAT-1 rs1044925 SNP was performed by polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment length polymorphism combined with gel electrophoresis, and then confirmed by direct sequencing. RESULTS: There was no significant difference in the genotypic and allelic frequencies of ACAT-1 rs1044925 SNP between the normolipidemic and hyperlipidemic subjects. The levels of total cholesterol (TC), HDL-C and apolipoprotein (Apo) AI in hyperlipidemic subjects were different between the AA and AC/CC genotypes in male but not in female (P < 0.05-0.01), the C allele carriers had higher serum TC, HDL-C and ApoAI levels than the C allele noncarriers. The association of genotypes and serum HDL-C and ApoAI levels in hyperlipidemia was found mainly in the male subjects with hypercholesterolemia but not in those with hypertriglyceridemia. There were no significant differences in serum lipid levels between the AA and AC/CC genotypes in the normolipidemic subjects. CONCLUSIONS: The present study shows that the C allele carriers of ACAT-1 rs1044925 SNP in male hyperlipidemic subjects had higher serum TC, HDL-C and ApoAI levels than the C allele noncarriers. There is a sex (male)-specific association of ACAT-1 rs1044925 SNP and serum HDL-C and ApoAI levels in the hypercholesterolemic subjects.
Project description:Rationale: Low B12 has been shown to play an important role in the prediction of metabolic risk, but its significance and mechanism in the development of adiposity and adipose tissue dysfunction is largely unknown. Objective: To investigate the role of B12 and folic acid in the development of adipocyte dysfunction. Methods and Results: Microarray analysis of human adipocytes (CHUB-S7 cell line) cultured and differentiated in customised media with varying concentrations of B12 and folic acid led to the identification of two important pathways: cholesterol synthesis and unfolded protein response (UPR). Adipocytes cultured in media with low B12 (150 pmol/L) or no B12 had increased intracellular total cholesterol, higher secreted homocysteine levels, induced UPR and reduced glucose uptake capacity compared to adipocytes cultured in normal media with higher B12. The folate concentrations had either no or little effect on the measured functions. Further analysis of these adipocytes for overall DNA methylation showed that the promoter regions of sterol regulatory element-binding transcription factor 1 (SREBF1) and low density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) were hypomethylated in the low and no B12 conditions. The SREB proteins (SREBP1 and 2) and mRNA expressions (SREBF1 and LDLR) were also increased in the same conditions. Conclusion: The data suggest that low B12 can lead to adipocyte dysfunction by inducing excess cholesterol biosynthesis, homocysteine production and induction of UPR and overall adipocyte dysfunction. Both of these pathways and adipocyte dysfunction play a significant role in the development of cardiovascular diseases. Independent replicate samples of the human adipocyte cell line CHUB-S7 were treated with four different concentrations of B12 and folate.
Project description:Branched esters of palmitic acid and hydroxystearic acid (PAHSA) are anti-inflammatory and antidiabetic lipokines that connect glucose and lipid metabolism. We aimed to characterize involvement of the 5-PAHSA regioisomer in the adaptive metabolic response of white adipose tissue (WAT) to cold exposure (CE) in mice, exploring the cross talk between glucose utilization and lipid metabolism. CE promoted local production of 5- and 9-PAHSAs in WAT. Metabolic labeling of de novo lipogenesis (DNL) using 2H2O revealed that 5-PAHSA potentiated the effects of CE and stimulated triacylglycerol (TAG)/fatty acid (FA) cycling in WAT through impacting lipogenesis and lipolysis. Adipocyte lipolytic products were altered by 5-PAHSA through selective FA re-esterification. The impaired lipolysis in global adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) knockout mice reduced free PAHSA levels and uncovered a metabolite reservoir of TAG-bound PAHSAs (TAG estolides) in WAT. Utilization of 13C isotope tracers and dynamic metabolomics documented that 5-PAHSA primes adipocytes for glucose metabolism in a different way from insulin, promoting DNL and impeding TAG synthesis. In summary, our data reveal new cellular and physiological mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of 5-PAHSA and its relation to insulin action in adipocytes and independently confirm a PAHSA metabolite reservoir linked to ATGL-mediated lipolysis.
Project description:Lovastatin, a potent competitive inhibitor of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA (HMG-CoA) reductase activity, was used to study the regulation of cholesterol metabolism and the basolateral-membrane secretion of triacylglycerol and cholesterol in the human intestinal cell line CaCo-2. At 0.1 microgram/ml, lovastatin decreased 3H2O incorporation into cholesterol by 71%. In membranes prepared from cells incubated with lovastatin for 18 h, HMG-CoA reductase activity was induced 4-8-fold. Mevalonolactone prevented this induction. In intact cells, lovastatin (10 micrograms/ml) decreased cholesterol esterification by 50%. The reductase inhibitor decreased membrane acyl-CoA:cholesterol O-acyltransferase (ACAT) activity by 50% at 5 micrograms/ml. ACAT inhibition by lavastatin was not reversed by adding excess of cholesterol or fatty acyl-CoA to the assay. Lovastatin, in the presence or absence of mevalonolactone, decreased the basolateral secretion of newly synthesized cholesteryl esters and triacylglycerols. Lovastatin also inhibited the esterification of absorbed cholesterol and the secretion of this newly synthesized cholesteryl ester. Lovastatin is a potent inhibitor of cholesterol synthesis in CaCo-2 cells. Moreover, it is a direct inhibitor of ACAT activity, independently of its effect on HMG-CoA reductase and cholesterol synthesis.