Glycerol kinase stimulates uncoupling protein 1 expression by regulating fatty acid metabolism in beige adipocytes

Mari Iwase, Soshi Tokiwa, Shigeto Seno, Takako Mukai, Yu Sheng Yeh, Haruya Takahashi, Wataru Nomura, Huei Fen Jheng, Sigenobu Matsumura, Tatsuya Kusudo, Naoki Osato, Hideo Matsuda, Kazuo Inoue, Teruo Kawada, Tsuyoshi Goto*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Browning of adipose tissue is induced by specific stimuli such as cold exposure and consists of up-regulation of thermogenesis in white adipose tissue. Recently, it has emerged as an attractive target for managing obesity in humans. Here, we performed a comprehensive analysis to identify genes associated with browning in murine adipose tissue. We focused on glycerol kinase (GYK) because its mRNA expression pattern is highly correlated with that of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1), which regulates the thermogenic capacity of adipocytes. Cold exposure-induced Ucp1 up-regulation in inguinal white adipose tissue (iWAT) was partially abolished by Gyk knockdown (KD) in vivo. Consistently, the Gyk KD inhibited Ucp1 expression induced by treatment with the β-adrenergic receptors (βAR) agonist isoproterenol (Iso) in vitro and resulted in impaired uncoupled respiration. Gyk KD also suppressed Iso- and adenylate cyclase activator-induced transcriptional activation and phosphorylation of the cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB). However, we did not observe these effects with a cAMP analog. Therefore Gyk KD related to Iso-induced cAMP products. In Iso-treated Gyk KD adipocytes, stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1) was up-regulated, and monounsaturated fatty acids such as palmitoleic acid (POA) accumulated. Moreover, a SCD1 inhibitor treatment recovered the Gyk KD-induced Ucp1 down-regulation and POA treatment down-regulated Iso-activated Ucp1. Our findings suggest that Gyk stimulates Ucp1 expression via a mechanism that partially depends on the βAR-cAMP-CREB pathway and Gyk-mediated regulation of fatty acid metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7033-7045
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2020 May 15
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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