bims-mimbat Biomed News
on Mitochondrial metabolism in brown adipose tissue
Issue of 2023‒10‒08
nine papers selected by
José Carlos de Lima-Júnior, Washington University

  1. Cell Metab. 2023 Sep 27. pii: S1550-4131(23)00337-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cold-induced thermogenesis (CIT) is widely studied as a potential avenue to treat obesity, but a thorough understanding of the metabolic changes driving CIT is lacking. Here, we present a comprehensive and quantitative analysis of the metabolic response to acute cold exposure, leveraging metabolomic profiling and minimally perturbative isotope tracing studies in unanesthetized mice. During cold exposure, brown adipose tissue (BAT) primarily fueled the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle with fat in fasted mice and glucose in fed mice, underscoring BAT's metabolic flexibility. BAT minimally used branched-chain amino acids or ketones, which were instead avidly consumed by muscle during cold exposure. Surprisingly, isotopic labeling analyses revealed that BAT uses glucose largely for TCA anaplerosis via pyruvate carboxylation. Finally, we find that cold-induced hepatic gluconeogenesis is critical for CIT during fasting, demonstrating a key functional role for glucose metabolism. Together, these findings provide a detailed map of the metabolic rewiring driving acute CIT.
    Keywords:  FBP1; brown adipose tissue; cold exposure; flux; gluconeogenesis; glucose; metabolomics; pyruvate carboxylase; thermogenesis
  2. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2023 Oct 04.
      Nonshivering thermogenesis in rodents requires macronutrients to fuel the generation of heat during hypothermic conditions. In this study, we examined the role of the nutrient sensing kinase, general control nonderepressible 2 (GCN2) in directing adaptive thermogenesis during acute cold exposure in mice. We hypothesized that GCN2 is required for adaptation to acute cold stress via activation of the integrated stress response (ISR) resulting in liver production of FGF21 and increased amino acid transport to support nonshivering thermogenesis. In alignment with our hypothesis, female and male mice lacking GCN2 failed to adequately increase energy expenditure and veered into torpor. Mice administered a small molecule inhibitor of GCN2 were also profoundly intolerant to acute cold stress. GCN2 deletion also impeded liver-derived FGF21 but in males only. Within the brown adipose (BAT), acute cold exposure increased ISR activation and its transcriptional execution in males and females. RNA sequencing in BAT identified transcripts that encode actomyosin mechanics and transmembrane transport as requiring GCN2 during cold exposure. These transcripts included class II myosin heavy chain and amino acid transporters, critical for maximal thermogenesis during cold stress. Importantly, GCN2 deletion corresponded with higher circulating amino acids and lower intracellular amino acids in the BAT during cold stress. In conclusion, we identify a sex-independent role for GCN2 activation to support adaptive thermogenesis via uptake of amino acids into brown adipose.
    Keywords:  Activating Transcription Factor 4 (ATF4); Energy expenditure; Eukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF2); Hypothermia; Mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1)
  3. Elife. 2023 10 02. pii: RP88049. [Epub ahead of print]12
      Triglycerides (TGs) in adipocytes provide the major stores of metabolic energy in the body. Optimal amounts of TG stores are desirable as insufficient capacity to store TG, as in lipodystrophy, or exceeding the capacity for storage, as in obesity, results in metabolic disease. We hypothesized that mice lacking TG storage in adipocytes would result in excess TG storage in cell types other than adipocytes and severe lipotoxicity accompanied by metabolic disease. To test this hypothesis, we selectively deleted both TG synthesis enzymes, DGAT1 and DGAT2, in adipocytes (ADGAT DKO mice). As expected with depleted energy stores, ADGAT DKO mice did not tolerate fasting well and, with prolonged fasting, entered torpor. However, ADGAT DKO mice were unexpectedly otherwise metabolically healthy and did not accumulate TGs ectopically or develop associated metabolic perturbations, even when fed a high-fat diet. The favorable metabolic phenotype resulted from activation of energy expenditure, in part via BAT (brown adipose tissue) activation and beiging of white adipose tissue. Thus, the ADGAT DKO mice provide a fascinating new model to study the coupling of metabolic energy storage to energy expenditure.
    Keywords:  adipose tissue; fat; glucose metabolism; lipodystrophy; medicine; metabolism; mouse; triglyceride
  4. Nat Metab. 2023 Oct 02.
      Sustained responses to transient environmental stimuli are important for survival. The mechanisms underlying long-term adaptations to temporary shifts in abiotic factors remain incompletely understood. Here, we find that transient cold exposure leads to sustained transcriptional and metabolic adaptations in brown adipose tissue, which improve thermogenic responses to secondary cold encounter. Primary thermogenic challenge triggers the delayed induction of a lipid biosynthesis programme even after cessation of the original stimulus, which protects from subsequent exposures. Single-nucleus RNA sequencing and spatial transcriptomics reveal that this response is driven by a lipogenic subpopulation of brown adipocytes localized along the perimeter of Ucp1hi adipocytes. This lipogenic programme is associated with the production of acylcarnitines, and supplementation of acylcarnitines is sufficient to recapitulate improved secondary cold responses. Overall, our data highlight the importance of heterogenous brown adipocyte populations for 'thermogenic memory', which may have therapeutic implications for leveraging short-term thermogenesis to counteract obesity.
  5. J Therm Biol. 2023 Sep 24. pii: S0306-4565(23)00260-7. [Epub ahead of print]117 103719
      Both birds and mammals have important thermogenic capacities allowing them to maintain high body temperatures, i.e., 37 °C and 40 °C on average in mammals and birds, respectively. However, during periods of high locomotor activity, the energy released during muscular contraction can lead to muscle temperature reaching up to 43-44 °C. Mitochondria are responsible for producing the majority of ATP through cellular respiration and metabolizing different substrates, including carbohydrates and lipids, to generate ATP. A limited number of studies comparing avian and mammalian species showed preferential utilization of specific substrates for mitochondrial energy at different metabolic intensities, but authors always measured at body temperature. The present study evaluated mitochondrial respiration rates and OXPHOS coupling efficiencies at 37 °C, 40 °C and 43 °C associated with pyruvate/malate (carbohydrate metabolism) or palmitoyl-carnitine/malate (lipid metabolism) as substrates in pigeons (Columba livia) and rats (Rattus norvegicus), a well-known pair in scientific literature and for their similar body mass. The data show different hyperthermia-induced responses between the two species with (i) skeletal muscle mitochondria from rats being more sensitive to rising temperatures than in pigeons, and (ii) the two species having different substrate preferences during hyperthermia, with rats oxidizing preferentially carbohydrates and pigeons lipids. By analyzing the interplay between temperature and substrate utilization, we describe a means by which endotherms deal with extreme muscular temperatures to provide enough ATP to support energy demands.
    Keywords:  Endotherms; Mitochondrial respiration; Muscular temperature; Sensitivity; Substrates
  6. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Oct 10. 120(41): e2301207120
      Enzymes from ectotherms living in chronically cold environments have evolved structural innovations to overcome the effects of temperature on catalysis. Cold adaptation of soluble enzymes is driven by changes within their primary structure or the aqueous milieu. For membrane-embedded enzymes, like the Na+/K+-ATPase, the situation is different because changes to the lipid bilayer in which they operate may also be relevant. Although much attention has been focused on thermal adaptation within lipid bilayers, relatively little is known about the contribution of structural changes within membrane-bound enzymes themselves. The identification of specific mutations that confer temperature compensation is complicated by the presence of neutral mutations, which can be more numerous. In the present study, we identified specific amino acids in a Na+/K+-ATPase from an Antarctic octopus that underlie cold resistance. Our approach was to generate chimeras between an Antarctic clone and a temperate ortholog and then study their temperature sensitivities in Xenopus oocytes using an electrophysiological approach. We identified 12 positions in the Antarctic Na+/K+-ATPase that, when transferred to the temperate ortholog, were sufficient to confer cold tolerance. Furthermore, although all 12 Antarctic mutations were required for the full phenotype, a single leucine in the third transmembrane segment (M3) imparted most of it. Mutations that confer cold resistance are mostly in transmembrane segments, at positions that face the lipid bilayer. We propose that the interface between a transmembrane enzyme and the lipid bilayer is a critical determinant of temperature sensitivity and, accordingly, has been a prime evolutionary target for thermal adaptation.
    Keywords:  Antarctica; Na+/K+-ATPase; ion homeostasis; octopus; temperature adaptation
  7. Genes Dev. 2023 Oct 05.
      Adipose tissue exhibits a remarkable capacity to expand, contract, and remodel in response to changes in physiological and environmental conditions. Here, we describe recent advances in our understanding of how functionally distinct tissue-resident mesenchymal stromal cell subpopulations orchestrate several aspects of physiological and pathophysiological adipose tissue remodeling, with a particular focus on the adaptations that occur in response to changes in energy surplus and environmental temperature. The study of adipose tissue remodeling provides a vehicle to understand the functional diversity of stromal cells and offers a lens through which several generalizable aspects of tissue reorganization can be readily observed.
    Keywords:  adipogenesis; adipose tissue; fibrosis; inflammation; mesenchymal stromal cells; obesity; white adipocyte
  8. Biophys J. 2023 Oct 05. pii: S0006-3495(23)00626-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mammalian and Drosophila Melanogaster model mitochondrial membrane compositions are constructed from experimental data. Simplified compositions for inner and outer mitochondrial membranes are provided, including an asymmetric inner mitochondrial membrane. We performed atomistic molecular dynamics simulations of these membranes and computed their material properties. When comparing these properties to those obtained by extrapolation from their constituting lipids, we find good overall agreement. Finally, we analyzed the curvature effect of cardiolipin, considering ion concentration effects, oxidation and pH. We draw the conclusion that cardiolipin negative curvature is most likely due to counterion effects, such as cation adsorption, in particular of H3O+. This oft-neglected effect might account for the puzzling behavior of this lipid.