Role of Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin and Autophagy in Alcohol-Induced Adipose Atrophy and Liver Injury.
ABSTRACT: Chronic alcohol consumption induces adipose tissue atrophy. However, the mechanisms for how alcohol induces lipodystrophy and its impact on liver steatosis and injury are not fully elucidated. Autophagy is a highly conserved lysosomal degradation pathway, which regulates cellular homeostasis. Mice with autophagy deficiency in adipose tissue have impaired adipogenesis. However, whether autophagy plays a role in alcohol-induced adipose atrophy and how altered adipocyte autophagy contributes to alcohol-induced liver injury remain unclear. To determine the role of adipose autophagy and mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) in alcohol-induced adipose and liver pathogenesis, we generated adipocyte-specific Atg5 knockout (KO), adipocyte-specific mTOR KO, adipocyte-specific Raptor KO, and adipocyte-specific tuberous sclerosis complex 1 KO mice by crossing floxed mice with Adipoq-Cre. The KO mice and their matched wild-type mice were challenged with chronic-plus-binge alcohol mouse model. Chronic-plus-binge alcohol induced adipose atrophy with increased autophagy and decreased Akt/mTOR signaling in epididymal adipose tissue in wild-type mice. Adipocyte-specific Raptor KO mice experienced exacerbated alcohol-induced steatosis, but neither adipocyte-specific mTOR nor adipocyte-specific tuberous sclerosis complex 1 KO mice exhibited similar detrimental effects. Adipocyte-specific Atg5 KO mice had increased circulating levels of fibroblast growth factor 21 and adiponectin and were resistant to alcohol-induced adipose atrophy and liver injury. In conclusion, autophagy deficiency in adipose tissue leads to reduced sensitivity to alcohol-induced adipose atrophy, which ameliorates alcohol-induced liver injury in mice.
Project description:Dysregulation of macroautophagy/autophagy is implicated in obesity and insulin resistance. However, it remains poorly defined how autophagy regulates adipocyte development. Using adipose-specific <i>rptor/raptor</i> knockout (KO), <i>atg7</i> KO and <i>atg7 rptor</i> double-KO mice, we show that inhibiting MTORC1 by RPTOR deficiency led to autophagic sequestration of lipid droplets, formation of LD-containing lysosomes, and elevation of basal and isoproterenol-induced lipolysis <i>in vivo</i> and in primary adipocytes. Despite normal differentiation at an early phase, progressive degradation and shrinkage of cellular LDs and downregulation of adipogenic markers PPARG and PLIN1 occurred in terminal differentiation of <i>rptor</i> KO adipocytes, which was rescued by inhibiting lipolysis or lysosome. In contrast, inactivating autophagy by depletion of ATG7 protected adipocytes against RPTOR deficiency-induced formation of LD-containing lysosomes, LD degradation, and downregulation of adipogenic markers <i>in vitro</i>. Ultimately, <i>atg7 rptor</i> double-KO mice displayed decreased lipolysis, restored adipose tissue development, and upregulated thermogenic gene expression in brown and inguinal adipose tissue compared to RPTOR-deficient mice <i>in vivo</i>. Collectively, our study demonstrates that autophagy plays an important role in regulating adipocyte maturation via a lipophagy and lipolysis-dependent mechanism.<h4>Abbreviations</h4>ATG7: autophagy related 7; BAT: brown adipose tissue; CEBPB/C/EBPβ: CCAAT enhancer binding protein beta; DGAT1: diacylglycerol O-acyltransferase 1; eWAT: epididymal white adipose tissue; iWAT: inguinal white adipose tissue; KO: knockout; LD: lipid droplet; MAP1LC3/LC3: microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3; MTOR: mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase; MTORC1: mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase complex 1; PLIN1: perepilin 1; PNPLA2/ATGL: patatin-like phospholipase domain containing 2; PPARG/PPARγ: peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma; RPTOR: regulatory associated protein of MTOR complex1; TG: triglyceride; ULK1: unc-51 like kinase 1; UCP1: uncoupling protein 1; WAT: white adipose tissue.
Project description:Liver kinase B1 (Lkb1) and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) are key regulators of energy metabolism and cell growth. We have previously reported that adipocyte-specific KO of Lkb1 or mTOR in mice results in distinct developmental and metabolic phenotypes. Here, we aimed to assess how genetic KO of both Lkb1 and mTOR affects adipose tissue development and function in energy homeostasis. We used Adiponectin-Cre to drive adipocyte-specific double KO (DKO) of Lkb1 and mTOR in mice. We performed indirect calorimetry, glucose and insulin tolerance tests, and gene expression assays on the DKO and WT mice. We found that DKO of Lkb1 and mTOR results in reductions of brown adipose tissue and inguinal white adipose tissue mass, but in increases of liver mass. Notably, the DKO mice developed fatty liver and insulin resistance, but displayed improved glucose tolerance after high-fat diet (HFD)-feeding. Interestingly, the DKO mice were protected from HFD-induced obesity due to their higher energy expenditure and lower expression levels of adipogenic genes (CCAAT/enhancer binding protein ? and PPAR?) compared with WT mice. These results together indicate that, compared with Lkb1 or mTOR single KOs, Lkb1/mTOR DKO in adipocytes results in overlapping and distinct metabolic phenotypes, and mTOR KO largely overrides the effect of Lkb1 KO.
Project description:Although macroautophagy/autophagy deficiency causes degenerative diseases, the deletion of essential autophagy genes in adipocytes paradoxically reduces body weight. Brown adipose tissue (BAT) plays an important role in body weight regulation and metabolic control. However, the key cellular mechanisms that maintain BAT function remain poorly understood. in this study, we showed that global or brown adipocyte-specific deletion of <i>pink1</i>, a Parkinson disease-related gene involved in selective mitochondrial autophagy (mitophagy), induced BAT dysfunction, and obesity-prone type in mice. Defective mitochondrial function is among the upstream signals that activate the NLRP3 inflammasome. NLRP3 was induced in brown adipocyte precursors (BAPs) from <i>pink1</i> knockout (KO) mice. Unexpectedly, NLRP3 induction did not induce canonical inflammasome activity. Instead, NLRP3 induction led to the differentiation of <i>pink1</i> KO BAPs into white-like adipocytes by increasing the expression of white adipocyte-specific genes and repressing the expression of brown adipocyte-specific genes. <i>nlrp3</i> deletion in <i>pink1</i> knockout mice reversed BAT dysfunction. Conversely, adipose tissue-specific <i>atg7</i> KO mice showed significantly lower expression of <i>Nlrp3</i> in their BAT. Overall, our data suggest that the role of mitophagy is different from general autophagy in regulating adipose tissue and whole-body energy metabolism. Our results uncovered a new mitochondria-NLRP3 pathway that induces BAT dysfunction. The ability of the <i>nlrp3</i> knockouts to rescue BAT dysfunction suggests the transcriptional function of NLRP3 as an unexpected, but a quite specific therapeutic target for obesity-related metabolic diseases.<b>Abbreviations:</b> ACTB: actin, beta; BAPs: brown adipocyte precursors; BAT: brown adipose tissue; BMDMs: bone marrow-derived macrophages; CASP1: caspase 1; CEBPA: CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (C/EBP), alpha; ChIP: chromatin immunoprecipitation; EE: energy expenditure; HFD: high-fat diet; IL1B: interleukin 1 beta; ITT: insulin tolerance test; KO: knockout; LPS: lipopolysaccharide; NLRP3: NLR family, pyrin domain containing 3; PINK1: PTEN induced putative kinase 1; PRKN: parkin RBR E3 ubiquitin protein ligase; RD: regular diet; ROS: reactive oxygen species; RT: room temperature; UCP1: uncoupling protein 1 (mitochondrial, proton carrier); WT: wild-type.
Project description:We investigated the role of connexin 43 (Cx43) in maintaining the integrity of mitochondria in brown adipose tissue (BAT). The functional effects of Cx43 were evaluated using inducible, adipocyte-specific Cx43 knockout in mice (Gja1 adipoq KO) and by overexpression and knockdown of Cx43 in cultured adipocytes. Mitochondrial morphology was evaluated by electron microscopy and mitochondrial function and autophagy were assessed by immunoblotting, immunohistochemistry, and qPCR. The metabolic effects of adipocyte-specific knockout of Cx43 were assessed during cold stress and following high fat diet feeding. Cx43 expression was higher in BAT compared to white adipose tissue. Treatment with the ?3-adrenergic receptor agonist CL316,243 increased Cx43 expression and mitochondrial localization. Gja1 adipoq KO mice reduced mitochondrial density and increased the presence of damaged mitochondria in BAT. Moreover, metabolic activation with CL316,243 further reduced mitochondrial integrity and upregulated autophagy in the BAT of Gja1 adipoq KO mice. Inhibition of Cx43 in cultured adipocytes increased the generation of reactive oxygen species and induction of autophagy during ?-adrenergic stimulation. Gja1 adipoq KO mice were cold intolerant, expended less energy in response to ?3-adrenergic receptor activation, and were more insulin resistant after a high-fat diet challenge. Collectively, our data demonstrate that Cx43 is required for maintaining the mitochondrial integrity and metabolic activity of BAT.
Project description:Adipose tissue (AT) fibrosis in obesity compromises adipocyte functions and responses to intervention-induced weight loss. It is driven by AT progenitors with dual fibro/adipogenic potential, but pro-fibrogenic pathways activated in obesity remain to be deciphered. To investigate the role of macroautophagy/autophagy in AT fibrogenesis, we used <i>Pdgfra-Cre<sup>Ert2</sup></i> transgenic mice to create conditional deletion of <i>Atg7</i> alleles in AT progenitor cells (<i>atg7</i> cKO) and examined sex-dependent, depot-specific AT remodeling in high-fat diet (HFD)-fed mice. Mice with <i>atg7</i> cKO had markedly decreased extracellular matrix (ECM) gene expression in visceral, subcutaneous, and epicardial adipose depots compared to <i>Atg7<sup>lox/lox</sup></i> littermates. ECM gene program regulation by autophagy inhibition occurred independently of changes in the mass of fat tissues or adipocyte numbers of specific depots, and cultured preadipocytes treated with pharmacological or siRNA-mediated autophagy disruptors could mimic these effects. We found that autophagy inhibition promotes global cell-autonomous remodeling of the paracrine TGF-BMP family landscape, whereas ECM gene modulation was independent of the autophagic regulation of GTF2IRD1. The progenitor-specific mouse model of ATG7 inhibition confirms the requirement of autophagy for white/beige adipocyte turnover, and combined to <i>in vitro</i> experiments, reveal progenitor autophagy dependence for AT fibrogenic response to HFD, through the paracrine remodeling of TGF-BMP factors balance. <b>Abbreviations:</b> CQ: chloroquine; ECM: extracellular matrix; EpiAT: epididymal adipose tissue; GTF2IRD1: general transcription factor II I repeat domain-containing 1; HFD: high-fat diet; KO: knockout; OvAT: ovarian adipose tissue; PDGFR: platelet derived growth factor receptor; ScAT: subcutaneous adipose tissue; TGF-BMP: transforming growth factor-bone morphogenic protein.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>Beclin1 is a core molecule of the macroautophagy machinery. Although dysregulation of macroautophagy is known to be involved in metabolic disorders, the function of Beclin1 in adipocyte metabolism has not been investigated. In the present study, we aimed to study the role of Beclin1 in lipolysis and mitochondrial homeostasis of adipocytes.<h4>Methods</h4>Autophagic flux during lipolysis was examined in adipocytes cultured in vitro and in the adipose tissue of mice. Adipocyte-specific Beclin1 knockout (KO) mice were used to investigate the activities of Beclin1 in adipose tissues.<h4>Results</h4>cAMP/PKA signaling increased the autophagic flux in adipocytes differentiated from C3H10T1/2 cells. In vivo autophagic flux was higher in the brown adipose tissue (BAT) than that in the white adipose tissue and was further increased by the ?3 adrenergic receptor agonist CL316243. In addition, surgical denervation of BAT greatly reduced autophagic flux, indicating that sympathetic nerve activity is a major regulator of tissue autophagy. Adipocyte-specific KO of Beclin1 led to a hypertrophic enlargement of lipid droplets in BAT and impaired CL316243-induced lipolysis/lipid mobilization and energy expenditure. While short-term effects of Beclin1 deletion were characterized by an increase in mitochondrial proteins, long-term Beclin1 deletion led to severe disruption of autophagy, resulting in mitochondrial loss, and dramatically reduced the expression of genes involved in lipid metabolism. Consequently, adipose tissue underwent increased activation of cell death signaling pathways, macrophage recruitment, and inflammation, particularly in BAT.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The present study demonstrates the critical roles of Beclin1 in the maintenance of lipid metabolism and mitochondrial homeostasis in adipose tissues.
Project description:The in vivo role of mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) in the development and function of adipose tissue, especially brown adipose tissue (BAT), is not well understood. Here, we aimed to assess the effect of mTOR (also known as Mtor) knockout on adipose tissues and systemic energy metabolism.We generated adipocyte-specific mTOR-knockout mice (Adipoq-mTOR) by crossing adiponectin-Cre (Adipoq-Cre) mice with mTOR (flox/flox) mice. The mice were then subjected to morphological, physiological (indirect calorimetry, glucose and insulin tolerance tests) and gene expression analyses to determine the role of mTOR in adipose tissues.We provide in vivo evidence that mTOR is essential for adipose tissue development and growth. Deletion of mTOR decreased the mass of both BAT and white adipose tissues (WAT) and induced browning of WAT. In addition, ablation of mTOR in adipose tissues caused insulin resistance and fatty liver in the Adipoq-mTOR mice. Furthermore, mTOR was required for adipocyte differentiation in vivo and activation of PPAR? ameliorated the differentiation deficiency of the mTOR-null adipocytes.Our findings demonstrate that mTOR is a critical regulator of adipogenesis and systemic energy metabolism. Our study provides key insights into the role of mTOR in adipose tissues; such knowledge may facilitate the development of novel strategies with which to treat obesity and related metabolic diseases.
Project description:FKBP51 (FK506-binding protein 51) is a known co-chaperone and regulator of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), which usually attenuates its activity. FKBP51 is one of the major GR target genes in skin, but its role in clinical effects of glucocorticoids is not known. Here, we used FKBP51 knockout (KO) mice to determine FKBP51's role in the major adverse effect of topical glucocorticoids, skin atrophy. Unexpectedly, we found that all skin compartments (epidermis, dermis, dermal adipose and CD34+ stem cells) in FKBP51 KO animals were much more resistant to glucocorticoid-induced hypoplasia. Furthermore, despite the absence of inhibitory FKBP51, the basal level of expression and glucocorticoid activation of GR target genes were not increased in FKBP51 KO skin or CRISPR/Cas9-edited FKBP51 KO HaCaT human keratinocytes. FKBP51 is known to negatively regulate Akt and mTOR. We found a significant increase in AktSer473 and mTORSer2448 phosphorylation and downstream pro-growth signaling in FKBP51-deficient keratinocytes in vivo and in vitro. As Akt/mTOR-GR crosstalk is usually negative in skin, our results suggest that Akt/mTOR activation could be responsible for the lack of increased GR function and resistance of FKBP51 KO mice to the steroid-induced skin atrophy.
Project description:Alcohol consumption leads to adipose tissue lipoatrophy and mobilization of FFAs, which contributes to hepatic fat accumulation in alcoholic liver disease. This study aimed to investigate the role of fibroblast growth factor (FGF)21, a metabolic regulator, in the regulation of chronic-binge alcohol-induced adipose tissue lipolysis. FGF21 KO mice were subjected to chronic-binge alcohol exposure, and epididymal white adipose tissue lipolysis and liver steatosis were investigated. Alcohol exposure caused adipose intracellular cAMP elevation and activation of lipolytic enzymes, leading to FFA mobilization in both WT and FGF21 KO mice. However, alcohol-induced systemic elevation of catecholamine, which is known to be a major player in adipose lipolysis by binding to the β-adrenergic receptor, was markedly inhibited in KO mice. Supplementation with recombinant human FGF21 to alcohol-exposed FGF21 KO mice resulted in an increase in fat loss in parallel with an increase of circulating norepinephrine concentration. Furthermore, alcohol consumption-induced fatty liver was blunted in the KO mice, indicating an inhibition of fatty acid reverse transport from adipose to the liver in the KO mice. Taken together, our studies demonstrate that FGF21 KO mice are protected from alcohol-induced adipose tissue excess-lipolysis through a mechanism involving systemic catecholamine release.
Project description:Autophagy is a lysosomal degradation pathway that degrades cytoplasmic proteins and organelles. Absence of autophagy in hepatocytes has been linked to promoting liver injury and tumorigenesis; however, the mechanisms behind why a lack of autophagy induces these complications are not fully understood. The role of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) in impaired autophagy-induced liver pathogenesis and tumorigenesis was investigated by using liver-specific autophagy related 5 knockout (L-ATG5 KO) mice, L-ATG5/mTOR, and L-ATG5/Raptor double knockout (DKO) mice. We found that deletion of mTOR or Raptor in L-ATG5 KO mice at 2 months of age attenuated hepatomegaly, cell death, and inflammation but not fibrosis. Surprisingly, at 6 months of age, L-ATG5/mTOR DKO and L-ATG5/Raptor DKO mice also had increased hepatic inflammation, fibrosis, and liver injury, similar to the L-ATG5 KO mice. Moreover, more than 50% of L-ATG5/mTOR DKO and L-ATG5/Raptor DKO mice already developed spontaneous tumors, but none of the L-ATG5 KO mice had developed any tumors at 6 months of age. At 9 months of age, all L-ATG5/mTOR DKO and L-ATG5/Raptor DKO had developed liver tumors. Mechanistically, L-ATG5/mTOR DKO and L-ATG5/Raptor DKO mice had decreased levels of hepatic ubiquitinated proteins and persistent nuclear erythroid 2 p45-related factor 2 activation but had increased Akt activation compared with L-ATG5 KO mice. Conclusion: Loss of mTOR signaling attenuates the liver pathogenesis in mice with impaired hepatic autophagy but paradoxically promotes tumorigenesis in mice at a relatively young age. Therefore, the balance of mTOR is critical in regulating the liver pathogenesis and tumorigenesis in mice with impaired hepatic autophagy.