The anorexigenic neuromodulator α-melanocyte–stimulating hormone (α-MSH; referred to here as α-MSH1–13) undergoes extensive posttranslational processing, and its in vivo activity is short lived due to rapid inactivation. The enzymatic control of α-MSH1–13 maturation and inactivation is incompletely understood. Here we have provided insight into α-MSH1–13 inactivation through the generation and analysis of a subcongenic mouse strain with reduced body fat compared with controls. Using positional cloning, we identified a maximum of 6 coding genes, including that encoding prolylcarboxypeptidase (PRCP), in the donor region. Real-time PCR revealed a marked genotype effect on Prcp mRNA expression in brain tissue. Biochemical studies using recombinant PRCP demonstrated that PRCP removes the C-terminal amino acid of α-MSH1–13, producing α-MSH1–12, which is not neuroactive. We found that Prcp was expressed in the hypothalamus in neuronal populations that send efferents to areas where α-MSH1–13 is released from axon terminals. The inhibition of PRCP activity by small molecule protease inhibitors administered peripherally or centrally decreased food intake in both wild-type and obese mice. Furthermore, Prcp-null mice had elevated levels of α-MSH1–13 in the hypothalamus and were leaner and shorter than the wild-type controls on a regular chow diet; they were also resistant to high-fat diet–induced obesity. Our results suggest that PRCP is an important component of melanocortin signaling and weight maintenance via control of active α-MSH1–13 levels.
Nicholas Wallingford, Bertrand Perroud, Qian Gao, Anna Coppola, Erika Gyengesi, Zhong-Wu Liu, Xiao-Bing Gao, Adam Diament, Kari A. Haus, Zia Shariat-Madar, Fakhri Mahdi, Sharon L. Wardlaw, Alvin H. Schmaier, Craig H. Warden, Sabrina Diano
The hepatic energy state, defined by adenine nucleotide levels, couples metabolic pathways with energy requirements. This coupling is fundamental in the adaptive response to many conditions and is impaired in metabolic disease. We have found that the hepatic energy state is substantially reduced following exercise, fasting, and exposure to other metabolic stressors in C57BL/6 mice. Glucagon receptor signaling was hypothesized to mediate this reduction because increased plasma levels of glucagon are characteristic of metabolic stress and because this hormone stimulates energy consumption linked to increased gluconeogenic flux through cytosolic phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK-C) and associated pathways. We developed what we believe to be a novel hyperglucagonemic-euglycemic clamp to isolate an increment in glucagon levels while maintaining fasting glucose and insulin. Metabolic stress and a physiological rise in glucagon lowered the hepatic energy state and amplified AMP-activated protein kinase signaling in control mice, but these changes were abolished in glucagon receptor–null mice and mice with liver-specific PEPCK-C deletion. 129X1/Sv mice, which do not mount a glucagon response to hypoglycemia, displayed an increased hepatic energy state compared with C57BL/6 mice in which glucagon was elevated. Taken together, these data demonstrate in vivo that the hepatic energy state is sensitive to glucagon receptor activation and requires PEPCK-C, thus providing new insights into liver metabolism.
Eric D. Berglund, Robert S. Lee-Young, Daniel G. Lustig, Sara E. Lynes, E. Patrick Donahue, Raul C. Camacho, M. Elizabeth Meredith, Mark A. Magnuson, Maureen J. Charron, David H. Wasserman
Heterozygous mutations in the gene encoding the pancreatic homeodomain transcription factor pancreatic duodenal homeobox 1 (PDX1) are associated with maturity onset diabetes of the young, type 4 (MODY4) and type 2 diabetes. Pdx1 governs the early embryonic development of the pancreas and the later differentiation of the insulin-producing islet β cells of the endocrine compartment. We derived a Pdx1 hypomorphic allele that reveals a role for Pdx1 in the specification of endocrine progenitors. Mice homozygous for this allele displayed a selective reduction in endocrine lineages associated with decreased numbers of endocrine progenitors and a marked reduction in levels of mRNA encoding the proendocrine transcription factor neurogenin 3 (Ngn3). During development, Pdx1 occupies an evolutionarily conserved enhancer region of Ngn3 and interacts with the transcription factor one cut homeobox 1 (Hnf6) to activate this enhancer. Furthermore, mRNA levels of all 4 members of the transcription factor network that regulates Ngn3 expression, SRY-box containing gene 9 (Sox9), Hnf6, Hnf1b, and forkhead box A2 (Foxa2), were decreased in homozygous mice. Pdx1 also occupied regulatory sequences in Foxa2 and Hnf1b. Thus, Pdx1 contributes to specification of endocrine progenitors both by regulating expression of Ngn3 directly and by participating in a cross-regulatory transcription factor network during early pancreas development. These results provide insights that may be applicable to β cell replacement strategies involving the guided differentiation of ES cells or other progenitor cell types into the β cell lineage, and they suggest a molecular mechanism whereby human PDX1 mutations cause diabetes.
Jennifer M. Oliver-Krasinski, Margaret T. Kasner, Juxiang Yang, Michael F. Crutchlow, Anil K. Rustgi, Klaus H. Kaestner, Doris A. Stoffers
The epidemics of obesity and metabolic disorders have well-recognized health and economic burdens. Pharmacologic treatments for these diseases remain unsatisfactory with respect to both efficacy and side-effect profiles. Here, we have identified a potential central role for T-type calcium channels in regulating body weight maintenance and sleep. Previously, it was shown that mice lacking CaV3.1 T-type calcium channels have altered sleep/wake activity. We found that these mice were also resistant to high-fat diet–induced weight gain, without changes in food intake or sensitivity to high-fat diet–induced disruptions of diurnal rhythm. Administration of a potent and selective antagonist of T-type calcium channels, TTA-A2, to normal-weight animals prior to the inactive phase acutely increased sleep, decreased body core temperature, and prevented high-fat diet–induced weight gain. Administration of TTA-A2 to obese rodents reduced body weight and fat mass while concurrently increasing lean muscle mass. These effects likely result from better alignment of diurnal feeding patterns with daily changes in circadian physiology and potentially an increased metabolic rate during the active phase. Together, these studies reveal what we believe to be a previously unknown role for T-type calcium channels in the regulation of sleep and weight maintenance and suggest the potential for a novel therapeutic approach to treating obesity.
Victor N. Uebele, Anthony L. Gotter, Cindy E. Nuss, Richard L. Kraus, Scott M. Doran, Susan L. Garson, Duane R. Reiss, Yuxing Li, James C. Barrow, Thomas S. Reger, Zhi-Qiang Yang, Jeanine E. Ballard, Cuyue Tang, Joseph M. Metzger, Sheng-Ping Wang, Kenneth S. Koblan, John J. Renger
The branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) are essential amino acids required for protein homeostasis, energy balance, and nutrient signaling. In individuals with deficiencies in BCAA, these amino acids can be preserved through inhibition of the branched-chain-α-ketoacid dehydrogenase (BCKD) complex, the rate-limiting step in their metabolism. BCKD is inhibited by phosphorylation of its E1α subunit at Ser293, which is catalyzed by BCKD kinase. During BCAA excess, phosphorylated Ser293 (pSer293) becomes dephosphorylated through the concerted inhibition of BCKD kinase and the activity of an unknown intramitochondrial phosphatase. Using unbiased, proteomic approaches, we have found that a mitochondrial-targeted phosphatase, PP2Cm, specifically binds the BCKD complex and induces dephosphorylation of Ser293 in the presence of BCKD substrates. Loss of PP2Cm completely abolished substrate-induced E1α dephosphorylation both in vitro and in vivo. PP2Cm-deficient mice exhibited BCAA catabolic defects and a metabolic phenotype similar to the intermittent or intermediate types of human maple syrup urine disease (MSUD), a hereditary disorder caused by defects in BCKD activity. These results indicate that PP2Cm is the endogenous BCKD phosphatase required for nutrient-mediated regulation of BCKD activity and suggest that defects in PP2Cm may be responsible for a subset of human MSUD.
Gang Lu, Haipeng Sun, Pengxiang She, Ji-Youn Youn, Sarah Warburton, Peipei Ping, Thomas M. Vondriska, Hua Cai, Christopher J. Lynch, Yibin Wang
Hepatic steatosis is present in insulin-resistant obese rodents and is concomitant with active lipogenesis. Hepatic lipogenesis depends on the insulin-induced activation of the transcription factor SREBP-1c. Despite prevailing insulin resistance, SREBP-1c is activated in the livers of genetically and diet-induced obese rodents. Recent studies have reported the presence of an ER stress response in the livers of obese ob/ob mice. To assess whether ER stress promotes SREBP-1c activation and thus contributes to lipogenesis, we overexpressed the chaperone glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) in the livers of ob/ob mice using an adenoviral vector. GRP78 overexpression reduced ER stress markers and inhibited SREBP-1c cleavage and the expression of SREBP-1c and SREBP-2 target genes. Furthermore, hepatic triglyceride and cholesterol contents were reduced, and insulin sensitivity improved, in GRP78-injected mice. These metabolic improvements were likely mediated by restoration of IRS-2 expression and tyrosine phosphorylation. Interestingly, GRP78 overexpression also inhibited insulin-induced SREBP-1c cleavage in cultured primary hepatocytes. These findings demonstrate that GRP78 inhibits both insulin-dependent and ER stress–dependent SREBP-1c proteolytic cleavage and explain the role of ER stress in hepatic steatosis in obese rodents.
Hélène L. Kammoun, Hervé Chabanon, Isabelle Hainault, Serge Luquet, Christophe Magnan, Tatsuro Koike, Pascal Ferré, Fabienne Foufelle
High dietary fat intake leads to insulin resistance in skeletal muscle, and this represents a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress have been implicated in the disease process, but the underlying mechanisms are still unknown. Here we show that in skeletal muscle of both rodents and humans, a diet high in fat increases the H2O2-emitting potential of mitochondria, shifts the cellular redox environment to a more oxidized state, and decreases the redox-buffering capacity in the absence of any change in mitochondrial respiratory function. Furthermore, we show that attenuating mitochondrial H2O2 emission, either by treating rats with a mitochondrial-targeted antioxidant or by genetically engineering the overexpression of catalase in mitochondria of muscle in mice, completely preserves insulin sensitivity despite a high-fat diet. These findings place the etiology of insulin resistance in the context of mitochondrial bioenergetics by demonstrating that mitochondrial H2O2 emission serves as both a gauge of energy balance and a regulator of cellular redox environment, linking intracellular metabolic balance to the control of insulin sensitivity.
Ethan J. Anderson, Mary E. Lustig, Kristen E. Boyle, Tracey L. Woodlief, Daniel A. Kane, Chien-Te Lin, Jesse W. Price III, Li Kang, Peter S. Rabinovitch, Hazel H. Szeto, Joseph A. Houmard, Ronald N. Cortright, David H. Wasserman, P. Darrell Neufer
Resistin is an adipokine that contributes to insulin resistance in mice. In humans, however, studies investigating the link between resistin and metabolic disease are conflicting. Further complicating the matter, human resistin is produced mainly by macrophages rather than adipocytes. To address this important issue, we generated mice that lack adipocyte-derived mouse resistin but produce human resistin in a pattern similar to that found in humans, i.e., in macrophages (humanized resistin mice). When placed on a high-fat diet, the humanized resistin mice rapidly developed accelerated white adipose tissue (WAT) inflammation, leading to increased lipolysis and increased serum free fatty acids. Over time, these mice accumulated lipids, including diacylglycerols, in muscle. We found that this resulted in increased Pkcq pathway activity, leading to increased serine phosphorylation of Irs-1 and insulin resistance. Thus, although the site of resistin production differs between species, human resistin exacerbates WAT inflammation and contributes to insulin resistance.
Mohammed Qatanani, Nava R. Szwergold, David R. Greaves, Rexford S. Ahima, Mitchell A. Lazar
Metabolic dyslipidemia is characterized by high circulating triglyceride (TG) and low HDL cholesterol levels and is frequently accompanied by hepatic steatosis. Increased hepatic lipogenesis contributes to both of these problems. Because insulin fails to suppress gluconeogenesis but continues to stimulate lipogenesis in both obese and lipodystrophic insulin-resistant mice, it has been proposed that a selective postreceptor defect in hepatic insulin action is central to the pathogenesis of fatty liver and hypertriglyceridemia in these mice. Here we show that humans with generalized insulin resistance caused by either mutations in the insulin receptor gene or inhibitory antibodies specific for the insulin receptor uniformly exhibited low serum TG and normal HDL cholesterol levels. This was due at least in part to surprisingly low rates of de novo lipogenesis and was associated with low liver fat content and the production of TG-depleted VLDL cholesterol particles. In contrast, humans with a selective postreceptor defect in AKT2 manifest increased lipogenesis, elevated liver fat content, TG-enriched VLDL, hypertriglyceridemia, and low HDL cholesterol levels. People with lipodystrophy, a disorder characterized by particularly severe insulin resistance and dyslipidemia, demonstrated similar abnormalities. Collectively these data from humans with molecularly characterized forms of insulin resistance suggest that partial postreceptor hepatic insulin resistance is a key element in the development of metabolic dyslipidemia and hepatic steatosis.
Robert K. Semple, Alison Sleigh, Peter R. Murgatroyd, Claire A. Adams, Les Bluck, Sarah Jackson, Alessandra Vottero, Dipak Kanabar, Valentine Charlton-Menys, Paul Durrington, Maria A. Soos, T. Adrian Carpenter, David J. Lomas, Elaine K. Cochran, Phillip Gorden, Stephen O’Rahilly, David B. Savage
Maternal obesity is thought to increase the offspring’s risk of juvenile obesity and metabolic diseases; however, the mechanism(s) whereby excess maternal nutrition affects fetal development remain poorly understood. Here, we investigated in nonhuman primates the effect of chronic high-fat diet (HFD) on the development of fetal metabolic systems. We found that fetal offspring from both lean and obese mothers chronically consuming a HFD had a 3-fold increase in liver triglycerides (TGs). In addition, fetal offspring from HFD-fed mothers (O-HFD) showed increased evidence of hepatic oxidative stress early in the third trimester, consistent with the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). O-HFD animals also exhibited elevated hepatic expression of gluconeogenic enzymes and transcription factors. Furthermore, fetal glycerol levels were 2-fold higher in O-HFD animals than in control fetal offspring and correlated with maternal levels. The increased fetal hepatic TG levels persisted at P180, concurrent with a 2-fold increase in percent body fat. Importantly, reversing the maternal HFD to a low-fat diet during a subsequent pregnancy improved fetal hepatic TG levels and partially normalized gluconeogenic enzyme expression, without changing maternal body weight. These results suggest that a developing fetus is highly vulnerable to excess lipids, independent of maternal diabetes and/or obesity, and that exposure to this may increase the risk of pediatric NAFLD.
Carrie E. McCurdy, Jacalyn M. Bishop, Sarah M. Williams, Bernadette E. Grayson, M. Susan Smith, Jacob E. Friedman, Kevin L. Grove