The protein Asc-1 controls whether fat-burning beige or fat-storing white adipocytes are formed, which can have an impact on the development of metabolic diseases. This is according to a current study by the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD). The results open new approaches to prevent the development of metabolic diseases. The research is now published in nature communication.
Not all fat is the same: there is white, brown and beige fat handkerchief. While white fat cells serve as energy stores, excess energy is burned in brown and beige adipose tissue. Too much white fat is considered unhealthy. If the white adipose tissue increases significantly in obese adults, metabolic diseases such as diabetes or metabolic syndrome can develop. The situation is different in children: there the first formation of white adipose tissue is a prerequisite for a healthy metabolism. But how does adolescent adipose tissue differ from adult white adipose tissue? To answer this question, researchers examined the composition of white adipose tissue from young and adult mice using single cell RNA sequencing.
Asc-1 promotes white adipocyte formation
The researchers found that adolescent adipose tissue differs greatly from adult white fat, especially in the properties and composition of adipose precursor cells. The researchers discovered a special subgroup of adipose precursor cells in adolescent adipose tissue that contain the protein Asc-1, which is otherwise present in mature fat cells. this precursor cells differentiate mainly into white adipocytes and the formation of ‘healthy’ beige adipocytes is actively suppressed. In further cell biology research, the team around first author Lisa Suwandhi was able to show that the loss of Asc-1 function promotes the formation of beige adipocytes.
“These insights into the physiological processes of adipose tissue growth allow us to develop new strategies to prevent the deleterious metabolic consequences of obesity,” said last author Dr. Siegfried Ussar. The researchers are already developing this approach further. They are currently establishing strategies to enhance Asc-1 function in adipose tissue in the living organism and exploring ways to promote healthy Fat tissue expansion. The goal is to help obese patients maintain a healthy metabolism in the future and thus gain time to treat obesity with a holistic approach.
Lisa Suwandhi et al, Asc-1 regulates the fate of white versus beige adipocytes in a subcutaneous stromal cell population, nature communication (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-21826-9
Provided by Deutsches Zentrum fuer Diabetesforschung DZD
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