Topical Area: Nutrient-Gene Interactions
Objectives: Intracellular iron homeostasis is tightly regulated in posttranscriptional levels via iron regulatory proteins (IRPs). IRPs bind to the iron-responsive elements (IREs), leading to either mRNA translation or stability. Our recent study demonstrated that iron metabolism is intimately linked with adipose tissue browning and thermogenic activation. However, the role of IRP/IRE interactions in the adipose tissue is poorly understood. We aim to characterize the IRP/IRE interactions in the adipose tissue in terms of depot-specificity and thermogenic potential.
Methods: To induce adipocyte browning, mice were administrated with beta-3 adrenoceptor agonist CL316243 (CL) for 5 days, and different depots of adipose tissue of epididymal (eWAT), inguinal (iWAT), brown (BAT), and liver were collected. Iron metabolism and thermogenesis were evaluated. To investigate the IRP/IRE binding, electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) was performed in the cytosolic using the fluorescence-labeled IRE (IR-IRE). To distinguish the IRE binding with IRP1 and 2, the cytosolic fraction from IRP1 and 2 knockout mice were used as positive controls.
Results: In a normal temperature, the constitutive IRP/IRE binding was found in the BAT, but not in the eWAT and iWAT. In response to CL treatment, iron content and transferrin receptor levels significantly increased in the WAT. Accordingly, the IRE/IRPs binding significantly increased in the CL-treated iWAT. Genetic deletion of IRP1 or 2 poses a marginal impact on constitutively active BAT development, suggesting IRP1 and 2 plays a compensatory role. Unlikely to BAT, the deletion of either IRP1 or 2 failed to induce WAT browning in the IRP1 and 2 knockout mice with CL stimulation. Consistently, both IRE binding to IRP1 and 2 were manifest in the CL treated iWAT, implicating that IRP1 and 2 plays a separate and synergistic function for WAT browning.
Conclusions: Our study defined the depot-specific iron regulatory metabolism in the adipose tissue using an innovative EMSA method. We demonstrated that, for the first time in our knowledge, IRE binding to both IRP1 and IRP2 is indispensable for the thermogenic activation of WAT, which is distinct from the iron regulatory mechanism found in the BAT. We propose that iron metabolism in the WAT is a novel determinant for WAT browning and thermogenic energy expenditure.
Funding Sources: None