bims-mimbat Biomed News
on Mitochondrial metabolism in brown adipose tissue
Issue of 2024‒02‒04
ten papers selected by
José Carlos de Lima-Júnior, Washington University

  1. Nat Commun. 2024 Jan 31. 15(1): 940
      In mammals, brown adipose tissue (BAT) and inguinal white adipose tissue (iWAT) execute sequential thermogenesis to maintain body temperature during cold stimuli. BAT rapidly generates heat through brown adipocyte activation, and further iWAT gradually stimulates beige fat cell differentiation upon prolonged cold challenges. However, fat depot-specific regulatory mechanisms for thermogenic activation of two fat depots are poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF20 orchestrates adipose thermogenesis with BAT- and iWAT-specific substrates. Upon cold stimuli, BAT RNF20 is rapidly downregulated, resulting in GABPα protein elevation by controlling protein stability, which stimulates thermogenic gene expression. Accordingly, BAT-specific Rnf20 suppression potentiates BAT thermogenic activity via GABPα upregulation. Moreover, upon prolonged cold stimuli, iWAT RNF20 is gradually upregulated to promote de novo beige adipogenesis. Mechanistically, iWAT RNF20 mediates NCoR1 protein degradation, rather than GABPα, to activate PPARγ. Together, current findings propose fat depot-specific regulatory mechanisms for temporal activation of adipose thermogenesis.
  2. J Biol Chem. 2024 Jan 30. pii: S0021-9258(24)00078-4. [Epub ahead of print] 105702
      Elevated levels of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) and branched-chain α-ketoacids (BCKAs) are associated with cardiovascular and metabolic disease, but the molecular mechanisms underlying a putative causal relationship remain unclear. The branched-chain ketoacid dehydrogenase kinase (BCKDK) inhibitor BT2 is often used in preclinical models to increase BCAA oxidation and restore steady-state BCAA and BCKA levels. BT2 administration is protective in various rodent models of heart failure and metabolic disease, but confoundingly, targeted ablation of Bckdk in specific tissues does not reproduce the beneficial effects conferred by pharmacologic inhibition. Here we demonstrate that BT2, a lipophilic weak acid, can act as a mitochondrial uncoupler. Measurements of oxygen consumption, mitochondrial membrane potential, and patch-clamp electrophysiology show BT2 increases proton conductance across the mitochondrial inner membrane independently of its inhibitory effect on BCKDK. BT2 is roughly six-fold less potent than the prototypical uncoupler 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP), and phenocopies DNP in lowering de novo lipogenesis and mitochondrial superoxide production. The data suggest the therapeutic efficacy of BT2 may be attributable to the well-documented effects of mitochondrial uncoupling in alleviating cardiovascular and metabolic disease.
    Keywords:  BT2; ROS production; branched-chain amino acids; cardiometabolic disease; chemical uncoupling; mitochondria
  3. bioRxiv. 2024 Jan 17. pii: 2024.01.16.575914. [Epub ahead of print]
      In response to cold, mammals activate brown fat for respiratory-dependent thermogenesis reliant on the electron transport chain (1, 2). Yet, the structural basis of respiratory complex adaptation to cold remains elusive. Herein we combined thermoregulatory physiology and cryo-EM to study endogenous respiratory supercomplexes exposed to different temperatures. A cold-induced conformation of CI:III 2 (termed type 2) was identified with a ∼25° rotation of CIII 2 around its inter-dimer axis, shortening inter-complex Q exchange space, and exhibiting different catalytic states which favor electron transfer. Large-scale supercomplex simulations in lipid membrane reveal how unique lipid-protein arrangements stabilize type 2 complexes to enhance catalytic activity. Together, our cryo-EM studies, multiscale simulations and biochemical analyses unveil the mechanisms and dynamics of respiratory adaptation at the structural and energetic level.
  4. J Biol Chem. 2024 Jan 25. pii: S0021-9258(24)00066-8. [Epub ahead of print] 105690
      The hydrolytic activity of the ATP synthase in bovine mitochondria is inhibited by a protein called IF1, but bovine IF1 has no effect on the synthetic activity of the bovine enzyme in mitochondrial vesicles in the presence of a proton motive force. In contrast, it has been suggested based on indirect observations that human IFI inhibits both the hydrolytic and synthetic activities of the human ATP synthase, and that the activity of human IF1 is regulated by the phosphorylation of serine-14 of mature IF1. Here, we have made both human and bovine IF1 which are 81 and 84 amino acids long, respectively, and identical in 71.4% of their amino acids, and have investigated their inhibitory effects on the hydrolytic and synthetic activities of ATP synthase in bovine sub-mitochondrial particles. Over a wide range of conditions, including physiological conditions, both human and bovine IF1 are potent inhibitors of ATP hydrolysis, with no effect on ATP synthesis. Also, substitution of serine-14 with phosphomimetic aspartic and glutamic acids had no effect on inhibitory properties, and serine-14 is not conserved throughout mammals. Therefore, it is unlikely that the inhibitory activity of mammalian IF1 is regulated by phosphorylation of this residue.
    Keywords:  ATP synthase; inhibitor protein IF(1); mitochondria; regulation; unidirectional inhibition
  5. Nat Metab. 2024 Jan 29.
      Mitochondrial dysfunction is a characteristic trait of human and rodent obesity, insulin resistance and fatty liver disease. Here we show that high-fat diet (HFD) feeding causes mitochondrial fragmentation in inguinal white adipocytes from male mice, leading to reduced oxidative capacity by a process dependent on the small GTPase RalA. RalA expression and activity are increased in white adipocytes after HFD. Targeted deletion of RalA in white adipocytes prevents fragmentation of mitochondria and diminishes HFD-induced weight gain by increasing fatty acid oxidation. Mechanistically, RalA increases fission in adipocytes by reversing the inhibitory Ser637 phosphorylation of the fission protein Drp1, leading to more mitochondrial fragmentation. Adipose tissue expression of the human homolog of Drp1, DNM1L, is positively correlated with obesity and insulin resistance. Thus, chronic activation of RalA plays a key role in repressing energy expenditure in obese adipose tissue by shifting the balance of mitochondrial dynamics toward excessive fission, contributing to weight gain and metabolic dysfunction.
  6. Redox Biol. 2024 Jan 27. pii: S2213-2317(24)00023-5. [Epub ahead of print]70 103047
      Ischemic tissues accumulate succinate, which is rapidly oxidized upon reperfusion, driving a burst of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation that triggers cell death. In isolated mitochondria with succinate as the sole metabolic substrate under non-phosphorylating conditions, 90 % of ROS generation is from reverse electron transfer (RET) at the Q site of respiratory complex I (Cx-I). Together, these observations suggest Cx-I RET is the source of pathologic ROS in reperfusion injury. However, numerous factors present in early reperfusion may impact Cx-I RET, including: (i) High [NADH]; (ii) High [lactate]; (iii) Mildly acidic pH; (iv) Defined ATP/ADP ratios; (v) Presence of the nucleosides adenosine and inosine; and (vi) Defined free [Ca2+]. Herein, experiments with mouse cardiac mitochondria revealed that under simulated early reperfusion conditions including these factors, total mitochondrial ROS generation was only 56 ± 17 % of that seen with succinate alone (mean ± 95 % confidence intervals). Of this ROS, only 52 ± 20 % was assignable to Cx-I RET. A further 14 ± 7 % could be assigned to complex III, with the remainder (34 ± 11 %) likely originating from other ROS sources upstream of the Cx-I Q site. Together, these data suggest the relative contribution of Cx-I RET ROS to reperfusion injury may be overestimated, and other ROS sources may contribute a significant fraction of ROS in early reperfusion.
    Keywords:  Complex-I; Ischemia; Mitochondria; Reactive oxygen species; Reperfusion; Reverse electron transfer
  7. J Biol Chem. 2024 Jan 30. pii: S0021-9258(24)00073-5. [Epub ahead of print] 105697
      Cardiolipin (CL), the signature lipid of the mitochondrial inner membrane, is critical for maintaining optimal mitochondrial function and bioenergetics. Disruption of CL metabolism, caused by mutations in the CL remodeling enzyme TAFAZZIN, results in the rare and life-threatening disorder Barth syndrome (BTHS). While the clinical manifestations of BTHS, such as dilated cardiomyopathy and skeletal myopathy, point to defects in mitochondrial bioenergetics, the disorder is also characterized by broad metabolic dysregulation, including abnormal levels of metabolites associated with the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle. In line with this, recent studies have identified inhibition of pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH), the gatekeeper enzyme for TCA cycle carbon influx, as a key deficiency in various BTHS model systems. However, the molecular mechanisms linking aberrant CL remodeling, particularly the primary, direct consequence of reduced tetralinoleoyl-CL (TLCL) levels, to PDH activity deficiency are not yet understood. This knowledge gap has limited our understanding of lipid-mediated metabolic regulation in BTHS and hindered the development of effective treatment strategies. In the current study, we provide evidence that remodeled TLCL promotes PDH function by directly binding to and enhancing the activity of PDH phosphatase 1 (PDP1). This is supported by our findings that TLCL uniquely activates PDH in a dose-dependent manner, TLCL binds to PDP1 in vitro, TLCL-mediated PDH activation is attenuated in the presence of phosphatase inhibitor, and PDP1 activity is decreased in Tafazzin-knockout (TAZ-KO) C2C12 myoblasts. Additionally, we observed decreased mitochondrial calcium levels in TAZ-KO cells, which may affect the calcium-sensitive activity of PDP1. Treating TAZ-KO cells with calcium lactate (CaLac) increases mitochondrial calcium and restores PDH activity and mitochondrial oxygen consumption rate. Based on our findings, we conclude that reduced mitochondrial calcium levels and decreased binding of PDP1 to TLCL contribute to decreased PDP1 activity in TAZ-KO cells.
  8. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2024 Jan 26. pii: S0925-4439(24)00018-8. [Epub ahead of print]1870(3): 167033
      Mitochondrial disorders are hallmarked by the dysfunction of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) yet are highly heterogeneous at the clinical and genetic levels. Striking tissue-specific pathological manifestations are a poorly understood feature of these conditions, even if the disease-causing genes are ubiquitously expressed. To investigate the functional basis of this phenomenon, we analyzed several OXPHOS-related bioenergetic parameters, including oxygen consumption rates, electron transfer system (ETS)-related coenzyme Q (mtCoQ) redox state and production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in mouse brain and liver mitochondria fueled by different substrates. In addition, we determined how these functional parameters are affected by ETS impairment in a tissue-specific manner using pathologically relevant mouse models lacking either Ndufs4 or Ttc19, leading to Complex I (CI) or Complex III (CIII) deficiency, respectively. Detailed OXPHOS analysis revealed striking differences between brain and liver mitochondria in the capacity of the different metabolic substrates to fuel the ETS, reduce the ETS-related mtCoQ, and to induce ROS production. In addition, ETS deficiency due to either CI or CIII dysfunction had a much greater impact on the intrinsic bioenergetic parameters of brain compared with liver mitochondria. These findings are discussed in terms of the still rather mysterious tissue-specific manifestations of mitochondrial disease.
    Keywords:  Coenzyme Q redox state; Complex I deficiency; Complex III deficiency; Isolated mitochondria; Oxygen consumption; Reactive oxygen species
  9. Redox Biol. 2024 Jan 24. pii: S2213-2317(24)00028-4. [Epub ahead of print]70 103052
      Acute liver failure caused by alcoholic hepatitis (AH) is only effectively treated with liver transplantation. Livers of patients with AH show a unique molecular signature characterized by defective hepatocellular redox metabolism, concurrent to hepatic infiltration of neutrophils that express myeloperoxidase (MPO) and form neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). Exacerbated NET formation and MPO activity contribute to liver damage in mice with AH and predicts poor prognosis in AH patients. The identification of pathways that maladaptively exacerbate neutrophilic activity in liver could inform of novel therapeutic approaches to treat AH. Whether the redox defects of hepatocytes in AH directly exacerbate neutrophilic inflammation and NET formation is unclear. Here we identify that the protein content of the mitochondrial biliverdin exporter ABCB10, which increases hepatocyte-autonomous synthesis of the ROS-scavenger bilirubin, is decreased in livers from humans and mice with AH. Increasing ABCB10 expression selectively in hepatocytes of mice with AH is sufficient to decrease MPO gene expression and histone H3 citrullination, a specific marker of NET formation. These anti-inflammatory effects can be explained by ABCB10 function reducing ROS-mediated actions in liver. Accordingly, ABCB10 gain-of-function selectively increased the mitochondrial GSH/GSSG ratio and decreased hepatic 4-HNE protein adducts, without elevating mitochondrial fat expenditure capacity, nor mitigating steatosis and hepatocyte death. Thus, our study supports that ABCB10 function regulating ROS-mediated actions within surviving hepatocytes mitigates the maladaptive activation of infiltrated neutrophils in AH. Consequently, ABCB10 gain-of-function in human hepatocytes could potentially decrease acute liver failure by decreasing the inflammatory flare caused by excessive neutrophil activity.
  10. Elife. 2024 Jan 30. pii: RP86016. [Epub ahead of print]12
      Ligand-gated ion channels transduce electrochemical signals in neurons and other excitable cells. Aside from canonical ligands, phospholipids are thought to bind specifically to the transmembrane domain of several ion channels. However, structural details of such lipid contacts remain elusive, partly due to limited resolution of these regions in experimental structures. Here, we discovered multiple lipid interactions in the channel GLIC by integrating cryo-electron microscopy and large-scale molecular simulations. We identified 25 bound lipids in the GLIC closed state, a conformation where none, to our knowledge, were previously known. Three lipids were associated with each subunit in the inner leaflet, including a buried interaction disrupted in mutant simulations. In the outer leaflet, two intrasubunit sites were evident in both closed and open states, while a putative intersubunit site was preferred in open-state simulations. This work offers molecular details of GLIC-lipid contacts particularly in the ill-characterized closed state, testable hypotheses for state-dependent binding, and a multidisciplinary strategy for modeling protein-lipid interactions.
    Keywords:  E. coli; Gloeobacter violaceus; Markov state model; conformational transition; cryo-EM; gating; lipid binding site; molecular biophysics; structural biology